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In the current and ever-evolving global geopolitical and international trading landscape, in addition to the UK government’s new focus on trusted research, export controls within academia will also continue to take on a much greater significance and importance.

As the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020 new rules for exporting some types of items to the EU will come into force on 1 January 2021. All export-controlled activities in relation to EU member states will in future require an export licence. Remember that even sending information via email to your collaborators outside the UK is considered an export. If the information in that email is controlled, then it is considered a controlled export.

The UK government has created a specific Open General Export Licence (OGEL) to allow for the lawful continuation of such exports after the UK has left the EU.

What are the current rules while we are part of the EU?

Today, the PI should be carrying out the self-assessment process to ascertain if any technology (information, research data or knowledge) or physical goods is controlled. Sending information by email to your collaborators in EU is one example of a type of export.

  • In most cases the research will not be export controlled.
  • In a minority of cases such research activity will be deemed to be export controlled, but nearly all transfers to EU partners do not require a licence under Intra-Community Trade rules. However, certain conditions must be fulfilled, including:
    • Suitable record-keeping using the template provided;
    • The marking of all documentation relating to the export (including emails/presentations) with a prescribed statement;
    • Notification to the ECC Team if exporting controlled technology or goods to EU under Inter-Community Trade.
  • Even fewer cases require an export licence to transfer very sensitive controlled research or goods to the EU.

What do you need to do to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition?

If you are already registered with ECC Team as an exporter to the EU you do not need to do anything. The ECC team will contact you.

If you are working with EU collaborators but have not already carried out a self-assessment, and/or notified the ECC team of this intra-community trade activity please register by completing form 5b and returning it to the ECC Team.

If your controlled research falls within the scope of the new OGEL you must still fulfil the following requirements:

  • Suitable record-keeping using the template provided
  • The marking of all documentation relating to the export of physical goods only with a prescribed statement (see below)
  • Notification to the ECC Team if exporting controlled technology or goods to EU under Inter-Community Trade.

If you are collaborating on controlled research under an export licence issued by an EU member state, you must contact the ECC Team to assist you in replacing that licence with one issued by the UK authorities.

Once an export controlled code has been identified through self-assessment, you can either (1) contact the ECC Team who will then advise on next steps or (2) use the OGEL Checker Tool to check if you could use the new OGEL.

Open General Export Licence details

The University has already registered the whole organisation for this specific OGEL which the UK government has created for work with EU member states. Our OGEL number is GBOGE2019/00214.

There are conditions to using this licence:

1. When exporting physical goods/items, the following statements must be included: "This [insert item name] is a UK Export controlled goods, categorised by code [insert UK export control code] of the Dual-Use list. Exported to [insert destination country] under licence number GBOGE2019/00214. A licence might be required by your organisation to export these goods outside the EU: it is your organisation’s responsibility to check whether such a licence is required. Advice on licensing should be sought from the relevant national authority where the goods are exiting the EU."

2. The statement above must be included in every shipping document, purchase order and invoice relating to the export of controlled goods to EU member state(s). A statement no longer has to be included with transfers (electronic or otherwise) of export-controlled technology (information), only in future for physical goods.

3. Records of each export or transfer (electronic or otherwise) relating to export controlled goods and technology under this OGEL must be kept for at least 4 years. Use this record keeping template to capture all the required information.

4. For exports of goods/technology covered by Category 0 - Nuclear Materials, Facilities and Equipment please refer to 4(7) of this specific OGEL or contact the ECC Team, as there is an important additional requirement to notify BEIS (The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) in advance of each export.

What will happen if an academic does not take the required action?

If an academic responsible for any export-controlled research activity collaborating with EU partners does not ensure that the export is covered by and registered under the new OGEL (or a SIEL if required) they will from 1 January 2021 be in breach of export control legislation, and personally liable for that breach.

Further information