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Export Controls: keeping informal collaborations under control

09 Mar 2021

Important update

In order to increase awareness across our Schools regarding export controls, we would like to remind our academics and research staff of their responsibilities regarding two key areas:

The importance of due diligence checks for informal collaborations

Due diligence checks are just as important for informal, as well as formal, collaborations.

Formal collaborations are those for which you have a signed contract/agreement. Informal collaborations cover any interaction where the collaboration has not been formalised in a signed contract/agreement. These can include verbal agreements for potential co-authorship of any form of publishable materials, such as any type of journal articles, technical notes, or web pages or simply reaching out for help to other academics or individuals outside the UK or generating data for grant proposals, news/magazine articles as a few examples.

It is not about the final product of this informal collaboration, i.e. the publication/paper, but about all the exchanges that take place beforehand. Checks should be performed before those exchanges of information/data take place with other academics or individuals in other entities outside the UK.

The importance of “end-user controls” versus “core export controls”

End-user controls relate to concerns that apply to the organisation, company or institution (referred to as an ‘entity’) you are engaged with or planning to engage with.

Core export controls relate to dual-use concerns that apply to the movement of goods, software, or information/data, from the UK to outside of the UK, which are listed in the UK consolidated list.

If you assessed your research project as not controlled, you do not need an export licence under “Core export controls”. But if you are collaborating with someone outside the UK the “End-user controls” are still applicable to your project. This means that due diligence checks are still required, and a special export licence may be needed to enable the collaboration. It is important that these entities are screened by our Export Controls Compliance team if they are located in key countries or if they have links to the military.