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Export controls and security

Export controls and security

Export control regulations are federal laws governing the export, transfer or sharing of certain commodities or information for reasons of national security or protections of trade. Export controls may arise for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The nature of the export has a military application or economic protection issues.
  • There are governmental concerns about the country, organization or individual receiving the information or technology.
  • The end use or the end user of the export are of concern.

Three sets of federal regulations come into play when the “licensed controlled actions” are involved in university sponsored research:

Possible exceptions applicable to university research

Most of the research and education activities taking place at Arizona State University (ASU) are excluded from export controls because ASU can assert the fundamental research exception.

  • Fundamental research exception: this exception in both EAR and ITAR pertains to basic or applied research in science and engineering performed or conducted at an accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S. where the results will be published and shared broadly in the scientific community (and under the EAR where the resulting information has been or is about to be published). Fundamental research is distinguished from research that results in information restricted for proprietary reasons, national security reasons or pursuant to specific U.S. government access and dissemination controls. If the subject of review involves a contract with publication restrictions of any type (including pre-publication approvals), for other than the sponsor’s review of its proprietary information, you may not rely on the fundamental research exception.

  • Public domain: term used for information that is published and generally accessible or available to the public through a variety of means. Both the EAR and ITAR provide that no license is needed to disclose technical information to foreign nationals inside the United States in classes or laboratories, at conferences or in publications if the information is in the public domain. The EAR and ITAR define public domain differently. The EAR requires that the information has been, is about to be, or is ordinarily published. The ITAR exception requires that the information has been published (EAR 732.2, 734.7; ITAR 120.11(8)). The fundamental research and public domain exclusions apply only to information or technical data. They do not apply to things (physical items including, for example, specified scientific equipment) or services (e.g., training foreign nationals inside or outside the United States). Other exemptions may apply to exports of equipment and services even if the fundamental or public domain exemptions do not.

For assistance in determining whether a project is subject to export controls, see the “Export Control Wizard ” or contact us.

For information on international research and global collaborations please visit the International Research and Global Collaborations page on the Research Administration website. 

Security clearances

ASU, as an institution, does not engage in classified work on campus. On occasion, however, access to classified materials may be necessary.

If an employee is requested by an outside agency to obtain a security clearance, the employee should contact ASU’s facility security officer for assistance. The employee may need security clearances to perform certain types of research at contractor facilities.

If an employee receives classified materials, the employee must contact the facility security officer immediately. Materials must remain intact and unopened.

In the normal course of a sponsored project, certain aspects of the work may develop in such a way that the federal government may require classification. In these situations, the principal investigator (PI) must notify the facility security officer immediately. This requirement does not include the development of processes or procedures for commercialization of patents.


For other questions concerning classified research or security clearances contact:

Debra Murphy
Facility Security Officer
Director - Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development 
(480) 965-2179 or

A word about export control from Matt Hulver, Ph.D. 

March 12, 2024

Re: Responsibilities Regarding International Research and Global Collaborations

Dear Colleagues,

As we continue to increase our research competitiveness and research expenditures, we must continue our efforts to protect both National Security Interests and the Intellectual Property of our research endeavor. It is important to ensure we meet the overarching obligations for complying with restrictions that are tied to the funds our sponsors provide.

ASU’s international academic, research, and other scholarly activities are strongly encouraged as we support academic freedom and the ability to openly exchange ideas and collaborations occurring outside the United States to advance knowledge. To ensure the continued success in these areas it is critical that we follow our established practices and comply with all federal funding agencies guidelines, as well as disclosure and reporting requirements. This allows us to maintain our productive relationship with the United States Government (USG) and the federal funding sponsors that support our faculty in their important research and scholarly works.

The USG and our federal partners continue to share their concerns with all universities about international engagements and collaborations related to how we comply with the of the laws and regulations that govern these engagements. The focus on national security is ever evolving and it is our shared obligation to remain informed, diligent, and transparent in these collaborations to ASU and our Sponsors. To facilitate compliance, we provide updated information, trainings, etc. as the requirements evolve. We have highlighted a list of resources, information to ensure ASU remains in compliance with laws and regulations and continues to support our research activities.

  • International Research and Global Collaborations webpage. This webpage includes access to trainings such as the CITI Training module titled, “Undue Foreign Influence: Risks and Mitigations,” frequently asked questions, Sponsor disclosure guidelines and additional resources related to foreign travel, export control and conflict of interest disclosures. The information found on this webpage will provide you with an understanding of all things to be considered and understood in international engagement activities and covers topics such as reporting requirements, data privacy laws, federal security, and control regulations.
  • Online training related to Undue Foreign Influence at: and internal threat awareness training: Insider Threat Awareness (
  • National Science Foundation Research Security Online Training Modules available at:
  • International Travel to countries of concern (e.g. Peoples Republic of China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Cuba) requires approvals from ASU senior leadership and may require sponsor approval if funds are to be paid from a sponsored project. Prior to any foreign travel a best practice is review of our international travel and exports guidance.
  • Export control regulations are federal laws that restrict the export of information, goods, technology and services to foreign nationals, within and outside of the United States, and foreign countries of concern. Export controls apply to:
    • transfer of specified items or information to people or entities outside the U.S.
    • disclosure of controlled information (whether in hard copy or orally) to certain foreign nationals inside or outside the U.S.
    • training or offering services involving controlled technology, equipment, or information to foreign nationals
    • transactions with, or providing services to, certain foreign countries, entities or individuals that are named on the U.S. restricted party lists (this includes research travel to embargoed countries) Sanctioned programs and Country Information

The regulations are broad and apply to all activities not just research; and they do provide several exclusions or exemptions for activities that are fundamental in nature. In addition, there are some limitations on travel to embargoed countries, and any additional oversight for specific fields of research. For assistance in determining whether a project is subject to export controls, see the “Export Control Wizard”, visit Research Integrity and Assurance - Export controls and security or request a consult at

  • ASU faculty and staff who have such collaborations are required to transparently provide full disclosure of all funded as well as unfunded collaborations and affiliations as required by federal and state agencies, as well as ASU's policies
  • Conflicts of Commitments (CoC) and Conflicts of Interest (COI) must be appropriately disclosed to ASU and Sponsors. There is a wide range of situations where a conflict may occur such as consulting, sponsored funding, employment (nepotism), research and other scholarly activities. These conflicts are to be reported and updated routinely within your department and with ASU.
  • We are working to implement a new solution to manage the disclosure of Conflict of Interest (CO) and Conflict of Commitment (COC) reporting in accordance with federal and state guidelines as well as ASU policies for faculty, staff and researchers. This will replace the current solution used for reporting for researchers within the Research Enterprise. Be on the lookout for launch dates.
  • Intellectual Property should be disclosed in accordance with ABOR IP Policy
  • Comply with ASU's Contract Signature Authority
  • International remote work is an increasingly common arrangement. International remote work is defined as an ASU employee who is working outside the United States. An employee could be working on sponsored or non-sponsored work. There are considerations and a process to be followed in determining if a remote work arrangement is in the best interest of the University Operations including research activities. The process and questionnaire to facilitate review of a request are located on International Engagement and Collaboration website under the heading "International Collaborations and Travel". For further information or support, please contact Knowledge Enterprise (KE) is a resource to you and facilitates the ability for you to focus on your research. KE staff are available for consultation, training and workshops and they will continue to provide updated information policy changes that may impact your research.

Thank you for the work you do in support of ASU's excellence in research and innovation. If you have any questions about your responsibilities in this letter, please contact Heather Clark, Assistant Vice PresidentResearch Operations at 480-965-1427 or at


Matt Hulver

Vice President for Research - Knowledge Enterprise

Additional resources:

Researcher support


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