Export Controls

What are Export Controls?

Research and education thrive at Mines as a direct result of our many international partnerships. However, laws and agency regulations restrict the export of certain items and information. Mines complies fully with these legal requirements by following our published procedures. An export is anything sent or carried to another country, including mail, shipments, luggage or carry-ons, and email, phone, or social media. Not only that, but sharing information with international visitors in the U.S. is deemed an export as well.

Exports are controlled based on the item or information, the country, organization, or person involved. The Departments of State, Commerce, Energy, and the Treasury, among others, regulate certain exports. In some cases, we must secure a license from one of these agencies before granting access in the U.S. or transferring an item or information overseas.

“Protect our research assets in a manner balanced with the openness and international collaboration that have been so critical to our success.”
—Kelvin Droegemeier, Director, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Contact Us

Guggenheim Hall, Ste. 314
1500 Illinois St.
Golden, CO 80401
(303) 273-3327
exportcontrols@mines.edu

Scot Allen
Research Compliance Officer

Letter of Commitment

Letter to Mines Community from the President, VP of Research and Technology Transfer, and Senior Leaders

Export Control Procedures

View a PDF of the Mines Export Control Procedures Reference Manual             

The following decision tree provides a basic guide to whether an item would likely be subject to export controls.


Mines Procedures

Compliance & Policies main page or email compliance@mines.edu
Office of Research Administration contact at (303)273-3411 or email ORA@mines.edu.
Research, Science, and Security Presentation

Federal Requirements

Many federal agencies oversee export controls. We have provided links to key legal requirements from the Executive branch of the US Government, below. These include the Departments of State, Commerce, Treasury, and Energy.

National Policy on the Transfer of Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Information, National Security Decision Directive 189, Sept 21, 1985 , Fundamental Research definition

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Department of State, Defense articles and technical data

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR), Department of Commerce, Equipment, materials, software, and technology with military and commercial uses

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Department of the Treasury, Comprehensive or selective sanctions for foreign policy or national security goals

Requirements for certain heavily sanctioned countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Darfur, Syria, Ukraine/Russia

Assistance to Foreign Atomic Energy Activities (DOE), Department of Energy export controls

Foreign Influence

In response to efforts from foreign governments to illicitly recruit scientific talent and acquire intellectual property and trade secrets, university associations have published a variety of recommendations, centering around disclosure of commitments and potential conflicts of financial interest.

Association of American Universities (AAU) and Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), Actions Taken by Universities to Address Growing Concerns about Security Threats and Undue Foreign Influence on Campus, Apr 22, 2019

American Council on Education (ACE), Dear ACE member Presidents and Chancellors Letter, May 10, 2019

Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), Framework for Review of Individual Global Engagements in Academic Research, Jan, 2020

 

In addition, several government agencies, affiliated groups, and international bodies have released guidance related to questions of undue foreign influence.

Department of Energy Order 486.1, Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs, June 7, 2019,

Fostering Integrity in Research, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017

Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Actions for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Controlled Information, Key Personnel and Critical Technologies, March 20, 2019

National Science Foundation, Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide, June 2020

Office of Science and Technology Policy, Letter to the United States Research Community, Kelvin Droegemeier, Sept 16, 2019.

Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Threats to the U.S. Research Enterprise:  China’s Talent Recruitment Programs, Nov 18, 2019

JASON, Fundamental Research Security, JSR-19-21, Dec, 2019

Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), China Defence Universities Tracker

What are Export Controls?

Research and education thrive at Mines as a direct result of our many international partnerships. However, laws and agency regulations restrict the export of certain items and information. Mines complies fully with these legal requirements by following our published Procedures (hyperlink). An export is anything sent or carried to another country, including mail, shipments, luggage or carry-ons, and email, phone, or social media. Not only that, but sharing information with international visitors in the U.S. is deemed an export as well.

Exports are controlled based on the item or information, the country, organization, or person involved. The Departments of State, Commerce, Energy, and the Treasury, among others, regulate certain exports. In some cases, we must secure a license from one of these agencies before granting access in the U.S. or transferring an item or information overseas.

What do we need to do as mines employees or students?

First, we have to identify situations in which export controls may affect us. Then, we may need to establish a plan for protecting the controlled items or technology or obtain a federal license. A representative from Research and Tech Transfer is available to meet with you, your department, or members of your lab.

What sorts of activities are impacted by export controls?

Many of the activities that we at Mines do every day could be affected by export controls. For example, this includes:

  • Research agreements that limit the nationality of research team members or require us to seek sponsor approval to publish the results
  • Research with nuclear energy, space technology, lasers or sensors, encryption, high performance computing, or military applications
  • Research relying on proprietary or confidential information
  • Research with international partners or visiting scholars
  • Procurement and use of controlled equipment
  • International consulting
  • Hosting international visitors
  • Travel abroad with scientific instruments or proprietary data
  • Travel to certain countries with laptops or electronic devices
  • Teaching overseas
  • International shipping of items or information overseas

When in doubt, ask us at exportcontrols@mines.edu.

What if I have foreign national graduate students in my lab—are licenses required?

It depends. If you have foreign national grad students working only on Fundamental Research, then you likely will not require a license to continue the work. However, it is recommended to perform a laboratory assessment both of the technology, items, equipment, or source code in use to ensure that there is not something or some work that will except the research from Fundamental Research designation. Please contact us for more information: exportcontrols@mines.edu

Isn’t all my research, scholarship, or teaching Fundamental Research?

Not necessarily.  While Mines is a Fundamental Research university and we start the consideration from that premise, some technology, information, or items used or transferred may fall outside the Fundamental Research Exception (FRE). Please consult the Decision Trees or contact ORA for more information on the topic.

Where can I obtain more training on export control processes?

The Department of Commerce, through the Bureau of Business & Industry (BIS) provides some online resources for the public. See BIS website, https://www.export.gov/Export-Guides. For more information or for department or unit training, please contact us at exportcontrols@mines.edu.

Are there exceptions to export control restrictions over the activities or information mentioned above?

Yes. However, the exceptions to the export control restrictions on technology, information, or activities each require analysis. Generally, these start with the Mines’ position that we focus on Fundamental Research as defined under both ITAR and EAR. However, the term Fundamental Research is not automatically applied to U.S. universities under ITAR/EAR. For example:

  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR):  If the technology is ITAR-controlled, but the research is occurring on a U.S. university campus and the results are fully published (in the public domain), usually there can be a Fundamental Research exception to the export controls determination.
    • Note 1:  If the info is already published, but it relates to/involves a “Defense Article” (on the U.S. Munitions List), then an analysis of the activity to determine if a Defense Service will be performed must occur.
      • The FRE may or may not be available as an option to university researchers; thus, further review and analysis is required and includes documentation of the analysis and record keeping for at least 5 years following the analysis.
    • Note 2:  Equipment developed under the Fundamental Research exception is not automatically excluded from export controls/ITAR if it meets USML criteria.
  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR): University-based research (basic and applied science or engineering) that is conducted by scientists, engineers, or students at an accredited U.S. university and that is publicly available (e.g., no restriction on publication) is normally (but not always) considered Fundamental Research. Again, an analysis is key to the process.

Some of the following articles may require a subscription, but we wanted to share the headlines and sources nonetheless. Apologies for any inconvenience.

“US investigations of Chinese scientists expand focus to military ties” Nidhi Subbaraman. Nautre, September 9, 2020

“Federal Acquisition Regulation: Prohibition on Contracting With Entities Using Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment” DOD, GSA, and NASA. Federal Register, July 14, 2020

“Advancing Reciprocity in U.S.- China Diplomatic Relations” Michael Pompeo. U.S. Deparment of State, September 2, 2020

“Race for Coronavirus Vaccine Pits Spy Against Spy” Julian E. Barnes and Michael Venutolo-Mantovani. The New York Times, September 5, 2020

“How China Targets Scientists via Global Network of Recruiting Stations” Kate O’Keeffe and Aruna Viswanatha. The Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2020

“FBI: Chinese researcher caught trying to fly to China with stolen bio-inspired computer code” David Schwartz. Tech Transfer Central, September 1, 2020

“NASA Researcher Arrested for False Statements and Wire Fraud in Relation to China’s Talents Program” U.S. Department of Justice, Austust 24, 2020

“Hunting the Phoenix” Alex Joske. Australian Strategic Policy Institute, August 20, 2020

“Filing: Kansas prof’s prosecution criminalizes job disputes”  Roxana Hegeman and Eric Tucker. The Washington Post, August 14, 2020

“China’s research-misconduct rules target ‘paper mills’ that churn out fake studies” Smriti Mallapaty. Nature, Augsut 21, 2020

“U.S. Turns Up Heat on Colleges’ Foreign Ties” Karin Fischer. The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 8, 2020

“How to Stop Science Theft” Mary Sue Coleman. Scientific American, April 7, 2020

Companies pay DOJ fine for Discrimination, Immigration and Nationality Act violation

Viswanatha, Aruna and Kate O’Keeffe, “Harvard Chemistry Chairman Charged on Alleged Undisclosed Ties to China,” Wall Street Journal, Jan 28, 2020,

Another Academic Ensnared in Chinese Recruitment Program” Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, March 11, 2020

The Trump Administration Drove Him Back to China, Where He Invented a Fast Coronavirus Test” David Armstrong, Annie Waldman and Daniel Golden, ProPublica, March 18, 2020

After $5.5M FCA Settlement, Institutions Face Bigger Risks for Mishandling Foreign Support,” Health Care Compliance Association, Report on Research Compliance, vol. 17, no. 2, Jan 23, 2020,

Effective August 2020, federal government agencies may no longer contract with universities, companies, and other organizations that make use of certain telecommunications or video equipment manufactured by specific companies that Congress has determined present a risk to secure communications.

View the full statement and list of prohibited manufacturers