Research and Foreign Collaborators
Fundamental research is an important definition to universities. Fundamental research is basic or applied research in science, engineering, or mathematics, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community, and for which the researchers have not accepted restrictions for proprietary or national security reasons.
Most university-based research is considered to be fundamental and is exempted from export controls under the Fundamental Research Exclusion (FRE). However, it is important to note that it is possible to lose the FRE.
How to lose FRE:
- If the funding sponsor requires publication review or introduces delays in publication
- If the funding sponsor restricts foreign national participation
- If the PI has made a “side deal” with the sponsor
FRE Key Points
- Applies to results of research, not “things”
- Applies to information only
- Does not apply to shipments anywhere outside the U.S., even if it was created under the FRE
- Does not apply to research conducted outside the U.S.
- Is lost if the research is subject to contract restrictions on access, dissemination, or participation
Vanderbilt frequently engages in international collaborations. The potential international collaborator can include, but is not limited to, the individual, academic institution, company, and subsidiary or parent of the collaborating company. Awareness of export control laws and regulations at all stages of any research project (sponsored or non-sponsored) is important. Consider the following questions as they relate to your research before you begin your work:
Will your work or research...
- Involve controlled technology such as defense items or services, missiles, nuclear technology, satellites, space applications, chemical/biological weapons, or encryption?
- Include controlled information, that is confidential or proprietary to Vanderbilt, a third-party, or any others (e.g., Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), Proprietary Information Agreement (PIA), or Confidentiality Agreement (CDA))?
- Include funding from a source that restricts publication and dissemination of results?
- Include funding from a source located outside the U.S.?
- Involve the participation of foreign nationals either at Vanderbilt or abroad?
- Involve international travel or work done overseas?
- Require temporary or permanent transfer of Vanderbilt items, information, or technical data overseas? This includes not only shipment of items, but also taking items with you on international travels (ie. Vanderbilt issued laptop, cell phone, tablet, equipment).
If export controls are identified in the research, project, or activity, PI/Faculty should collaborate with SPA and VEC to begin the process for determining the appropriate export control compliance plan.
Perform a Restricted Parties Screening on potential collaborators and associated entities. Alternatively, contact VEC to assist in a restricted parties screening. If the potential collaborator is a denied or blocked party for any reason, please contact VEC immediately to assist in export review.