Research efforts at Washington State University are a global endeavor. Dissemination of ideas is a core value. These two statements are at the intersection of WSU’s Export Control Program, as University faculty, staff, and students will likely cross paths with federal export control regulations that impose restrictions. Export controls are a complex set of federal regulations that govern the release of certain commodities, technologies, and software to foreign nationals in the United States and abroad. These controls are in place to promote national security, foreign policy, anti-terrorism, and non-proliferation. The three U.S. regulations impacting research are Export Administration Regulations (EAR), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations.

Although the majority of activities at the university are not subject to export control restrictions or licensing requirements, it is the responsibility of each member of the university community to be aware of requirements under these regulations. If you are conducting basic research at the University, your work may not be subject to export controls because of a federal regulation (15 CFR§734.8) known as the Fundamental Research Exclusion (FRE). The FRE exempts studies that are not export-restricted for proprietary or national security reasons, have no restrictions on publication, and have no restrictions on access by foreign nationals. In short, if the Fundamental Research Exclusion does not apply to your activities, then they are subject to export controls.

Researchers typically engage the Export Controls regulations in two ways:
1. Contract language: While most academic research leads to publications, some funding agreements or other contractual language places limits on dissemination of ideas or restriction of foreign national participation and the restriction results in the research no longer protected by the FRE.
2. Foreign nationals: The University values the input of faculty, staff, and graduate students from around the world. As international collaborations continue to expand, scholars have the responsibility to ensure adherence to U.S. export control regulations. The regulations apply to any visiting foreign national or collaborator with access to an export controlled items, technologies, or ideas. Federal export control regulations prohibit U.S. citizens from engaging with sanctioned or embargoed countries and also with foreign entities or individuals that have been placed on the restricted party list.

While the examples above are common, there are other areas of normal WSU business that are under the purview of export control regulations, including travel, shipping, and purchasing concerns. These considerations are all featured in the launch of our revised website focused on assisting the research community with the regulations. Please contact the export control officer for resources and guidance to comply with all federal export control regulations at or.ora.export@wsu.edu or visit https://ora.wsu.edu/export-controls/.