Some technology held and used by Universities, including for research collaborations and teaching, or licensed by University tech transfer companies, and some consultancy activity does have the potential to be misused. It is therefore subject to military non-proliferation export controls by the UK and EU and other countries, backed up by criminal law (involving fines, legal costs and prison sentences of up to 10 years).Compliance with Export Controls is a serious obligation but it is manageable.
Briefly, the UK regime takes a 2 pronged approach:
The technology – is it on UK Consolidated controlled list?
Is the equipment, materials or know-how on the UK Consolidated lists of military, para military or dual use items? (Dual use items are civilian items which could be adapted for military purposes.)
· Is the technology being considered “required” and “necessary” for the development, production or use of the controlled items? (This limitation does not apply to nuclear items – if listed they are controlled, whatever their usefulness.)
· The fact that the knowledge is intended for civilian use does not dispense with the need seek a licence, though it would be relevant to whether a licence would be granted.
· Is it to be transferred out of the UK physically (e.g. shipping equipment or despatching materials) or otherwise (e.g. consultancy, know-how including where sent via the internet/email)?
The recipient: Do you know or suspect that the technology, whatever its capabilities and even though not listed, is to be used for
· military purposes by a country subject to sanctions or
· WMD purposes, namely for chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or means for their delivery?
US Export Control Obligations
Is the technology to be used for any purpose related to armaments, nuclear energy, weaponry or other military use? This needs to be cleared with the supplier. Are you going to disclose the technology to non-UK nationals inside or outside the Department whether in the UK or abroad?
University tech transfer companies should be aware that in some instances controls from other territories may apply in addition to UK-administered controls. This is particularly common for US technologies, where re-export clauses often apply which prevent not only the goods, software or technology being re-exported to particular countries, but also can prevent it being transferred to or shared with foreign nationals within the UK.
· If the technology is subject to ITAR or EAR this may affect exporting and also sharing with researchers within the organisation who are from overseas or have dual nationality. These rules need to be satisfied, as well as UK export control requirements.
The full guide and toolkit can be downloaded here.