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Export Controls and end of the Brexit transition period

16 Dec 2020

Find out what is changing, and when

Sharing technology (information, research data or knowledge) with your EU collaborators outside the UK is considered an export. This export is then deemed a controlled export if the information, data or knowledge shared is above certain thresholds described in the UK export controls legislation. New rules for controlled exports to the EU will come into force from 1 January 2021 once the Brexit transitional period has ended.

Regardless of the outcome of last-minute negotiations with the EU there is a high likelihood that all such controlled exports to EU member states will in future require an export licence. The University has already signed up for a new Open General Export Licence (OGEL) to enable transfers of controlled technology (information/etc.) to EU colleagues.  But for your controlled research activities to be covered by this OGEL you must sign up with the University’s Export Controls Compliance (ECC) Team and also fulfil certain requirements (record keeping, and for the export of physical goods, the use of prescribed statements to mark those goods as controlled).

The academic will be in breach of export control legislation, and be personally liable for that breach if they do not fulfil these requirements.

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

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 transfer to EU partners does not require a licence under Intra-Community Trade rules.  However certain conditions must be fulfilled. Refer to our website for details.  Even fewer cases today will require an export licence to transfer very sensitive controlled research or goods to the EU.

The PI should be notifying the ECC Team if they are exporting controlled technology or goods to the EU under Inter-Community Trade.

What do you need to do?

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