Information for PIs

The Principal Investigator (PI) on a given project has the best understanding of the work, therefore, is best suited for determining whether the particular technology, data, or information involved in the work is subject to export control regulations.

Therefore, the PI is responsible for the following:

  • Carefully review the information on export controls provided on this web site. Additional training on export controls is available through the Office of Research Integrity.
  • Before beginning any research, determine whether any export controls might apply by asking the questions listed to the right.
  • If any such issues are identified, or if there are questions, the PI should contact Aaron Menshouse in the Office of Research Integrity at 907-474-7832 or for help in determining whether any export control restrictions might apply.
  • Once the project is underway, the PI should notify the Office of Research Integrity prior to implementing any changes that may impact the applicability of export controls, such as a change in the scope of work or the addition of new staff to the project.
  • If it is determined that export controls apply to the project, the PI must adhere to any applicable restrictions and assist in University efforts to monitor compliance.

** PIs, please note: License applications require considerable time and effort to assemble, and once an application is submitted, processing can take from 6 weeks to 3 months to complete. Please factor this into your overall plan. **

These laws apply to all activities - not just sponsored projects!!

Penalties for Non-Compliance with Export Controls

Fines for non-compliance with export controls are quite severe and can be levied at both the individual as well as the university. In addition to significant monetary fines and lengthy prison sentences, the potential loss of all federal funding and loss of export privileges would be crippling to the university. University personnel may not transfer any items, information, technology or software contrary to U.S. export control laws or the university’s policy on export controls.

Violations under the EAR can bring civil penalties of $10,000 to $120,000 per violation and criminal penalties of $50,000 to $1 million per violation along with up to 10 years in prison.

Violations under the ITAR can bring civil penalties of $500,000 per violation and criminal penalties of up to $1 million per violation along with up to 20 years in prison.

Violations under OFAC regulations can bring civil penalties of $250,000 per violation and criminal penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

Recent Enforcement Cases

The University of Massachusetts at Lowell: In March of 2013, the University was found to have violated export control regulations when it shipped two atmospheric science instruments to the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission (SUPARCO) in 2007. The instruments themselves are subject to the lowest level of controls and generally do not require a license to export, however SUPARCO is on the restricted Entity List and is a prohibited end-user. The University settled with the Bureau of Industry and Security for a $100,000 fine, to be waived if the University committed no further violations during a two year probation period.

For more information on this case see:

U Mass Lowell Fined For Entity List Violations

The University of Tennessee: In September 2008, the U.S. government convicted retired University of Tennessee professor Dr. J. Reece Roth of illegally exporting information regarding U.S. Air Force sponsored research to one or more foreign nationals without an appropriate export license. One of the foreign nationals in question was a Chinese graduate research assistant in Dr. Roth’s laboratory. Dr. Roth was convicted on 18 counts and was sentenced to 48 months in prison. For more information on this case see:

Retired University of Tennessee Professor Convicted of Arms Export Violations
Retired University Professor sentenced to four years in prison for Arms Export Violations involving citizen of China

The Department of Commerce also publishes a booklet containing summaries of recent export enforcement cases. For more information see: Don’t let this happen to you.

Does your work involve:

  • Defense articles, military technologies?
  • Encryption technology, high performance computing?
  • Foreign nationals; as graduate students, visiting faculty, collaborators?
  • Shipping equipment outside of the U.S.?
  • Research taking place outside of the U.S.?
  • International travel?
  • Signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?
  • Activities in or with a country subject to U.S. sanctions or embargoes?
  • An RFP marked "Export Controlled"?
  • Sponsor requirements for pre-approval rights over publications?
  • Any sponsor restrictions on the participation of foreign nationals?

If you answer "yes" to any of the above, you must contact the Office of Research Integrity to determine whether a license is needed. Contact Aaron Menshouse at 907-474-7832 or