Export Controls

Welcome to Export Controls at Mines

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             

Fundamental research and export-controlled research

“Foreign-born scientists and engineers … make essential contributions to our preeminence in science, engineering and technology today.”
—“Fundamental Research Security,” JASON report to NSF, Dec. 2019

The majority of research conducted at Colorado School of Mines qualifies as fundamental research. On these research endeavors, there are no restrictions such as requiring a sponsor’s permission to publish results or limiting the members of a research team by nationality.

However, in some cases, Mines accepts restrictions on research for proprietary or national security reasons. Research conducted under these conditions may be controlled for export to certain countries or for sharing with certain international partners. Mines’ range of research activities is fully consistent with our research values of objectivity, honesty, openness, accountability, fairness, and stewardship.*

There are many situations in which we can help you determine whether export controls affect your research. We will work with you to establish a technology control plan, request a federal license, or take other measures that may be warranted. Before you engage in the following types of research activities, please contact us at exportcontrols@mines.edu:

  • 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 (for example that require signing non-disclosure agreements)
  • Traveling abroad with restricted equipment, software, or information
  • International shipping of restricted items or data
  • Research with international partners or visiting scholars (some restrictions apply)
  • Procurement and use of controlled equipment
  • International consulting

*Compare these research values to Fostering Integrity in Research, 2017, National Academy of Sciences.

Travel Abroad

Traveling internationally for collaboration with colleagues, conferences, or field research can be richly rewarding; however, Mines employees and students must ensure that we follow the law. Traveling with restricted equipment, software, or information may require an export license prior to departure. Travel to countries that are subject to comprehensive sanctions, e.g. Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the Crimea region of the Ukraine, may require a license or other precautions. If you have any questions, please contact us at exportcontrols@mines.edu.

  • Department of State Travel Warnings
  • FBI and Business Travels
  • Steps to consider if traveling abroad to certain countries with IT devices may include:
    • Using a clean laptop with current security & malware detection
    • Removing unnecessary Mines’ data/personal data from devices before travel
    • Removing third-party proprietary software, confidential/sensitive data, and export controlled data
    • Removing encrypted files and encryption-capable software, except for system critical tech (certain encryption tech is strictly controlled)
    • Avoiding using Wi-Fi connections, even if labeled as secure and/or a password is required
    • Never attaching or accepting unknown devices/drives (including USB drives)
    • On return, having the device scanned for malware prior to connecting to Mines’ network
    • Accessing email abroad (even through VPN) may allow access to confidential/sensitive info

Hosting International Visitors

“The strength of American science requires a research environment conducive to creativity, an environment in which the free exchange of ideas is a vital component.”
—National Security Decision Directive 189

The success of the research enterprise at Colorado School of Mines, and in fact the conduct of science, relies on international partnerships.

There are factors we must consider, however, as we prepare to travel internationally or to welcome international scholars as guests in our labs and departments, particularly if you are involved in any export-controlled research.

Hosting international scholars is a common and welcome practice. The Office of International Programs and research security are two places to seek advice to help you avoid possible missteps. We encourage you to contact us at exportcontrols@mines.edu prior to issuing a formal invitation. When hiring international scholars, please download and provide a completed export control questionnaire along with your request to Human Resources or the Office of Legal Services. The research security office reviews each visit for the following concerns: restrictions on the research to be conducted; restrictions on the visitor’s home institution, country, or the visitor; and restricted research in proximity to the visitor (in the PI’s lab or at another lab in the department).

International Shipping

Every time we ship or transfer anything overseas, that constitutes an export and is subject to U.S. export control laws.

Certain items are restricted for export to particular countries and for particular purposes. Some potential partners abroad may be listed as restricted parties. Certain countries are subject to comprehensive sanctions, e.g., Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the Crimea region of the Ukraine. Depending on your shipment or transfer, Mines may require a federal license prior to making the export. Especially for biological materials, a material transfer agreement (MTA) that addresses intellectual property is a good practice. Research security and integrity can help you figure these things out. Please contact us at exportcontrols@mines.edu.

Education and Outreach

The foundation of any solid compliance program is education. The Research and Technology Transfer Team are available to meet with you or with all the members of your lab, center, department, or office to protect you and the institution.

The impacts of export controls run the gamut of typical daily activities in the life of the university, and there is simply no way we could ensure compliance on our own. Instead, we rely on faculty, staff, and students from across the institution to bring issues to our attention. We meet with faculty embarking on restricted research, with staff who play critical roles, with those making plans to travel to a comprehensively sanctioned country, and with anyone who has questions about research security and integrity. Please let us know at exportcontrols@mines.edu if you would like to schedule a meeting or training session.

We host an occasional series of discussions around Science and Security with a campus-wide audience. Feel free to contact us and learn when the next event is planned, or visit our Upcoming Events page.

Resources

Mines Procedures

Export Control Procedures Reference Manual   

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

Other Universities
CalTech Export Compliance
MIT Office of Sponsored Research, Export Controls
University of New Hampshire Basics of Export Control Training

 

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 https://www.aau.edu/sites/default/files/Blind-Links/Effective-Science-Security-Practices.pdf.

American Council on Education (ACE), Dear ACE member Presidents and Chancellors Letter, May 10, 2019, https://www.acenet.edu/Documents/Memo-ACE-membership-foreign-espionage.pdf.

Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), Framework for Review of Individual Global Engagements in Academic Research, Jan, 2020, https://www.cogr.edu/sites/default/files/COGR%20Framework%20Formatted%2001142020.pdf.

 

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, https://www.directives.doe.gov/directives-documents/400-series/0486.1-border/@@images/file

Fostering Integrity in Research, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017, https://www.nap.edu/catalog/21896/fostering-integrity-in-research.

Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Actions for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Controlled Information, Key Personnel and Critical Technologies, March 20, 2019, https://www.aau.edu/sites/default/files/AAU-Files/Key-Issues/Science-Security/DOD-Research-Protection-Memo.pdf

National Science Foundation, Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide, June 2020, https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf20001&org=NSF

Office of Science and Technology Policy, Letter to the United States Research Community, Kelvin Droegemeier, Sept 16, 2019, httpscontent/uploads/2019/09/OSTP-letter-to-the-US-research-community-september-2019.pdf.

Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Threats to the U.S. Research Enterprise:  China’s Talent Recruitment Programs, Nov 18, 2019, https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2019-11-18%20PSI%20Staff%20Report%20-%20China’s%20Talent%20Recruitment%20Plans%20Updated2.pdf.

JASON, Fundamental Research Security, JSR-19-21, Dec, 2019, https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=299700.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), China Defence Universities Tracker, https://unitracker.aspi.org.au/

Recent News

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/how-to-stop-science-thieves/, Mary Sue Coleman, President of AAU

Viswanatha, Aruna and Kate O’Keeffe, “Harvard Chemistry Chairman Charged on Alleged Undisclosed Ties to China,” Wall Street Journal, Jan 28, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/harvards-chemistry-chair-charged-on-alleged-undisclosed-ties-to-china-11580228768.

“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, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/after-5-5m-fca-settlement-institutions-19632/.

FAQ

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.