If you have export-related questions, assistance and guidance are available from the ECU Office of Export Controls at (252)744-2395, or ECUExportControls@ecu.edu. We're here to help demystify the export process and we can work with you 1:1, in small teams, or in larger teams. Look for website enhancements in the coming months; meanwhile, please send us any comments.
In simplistic terms, US export controls collectively are federal regulations that govern what we can export from the US, or what we can disclose in writing or orally, regardless of the medium, to people who are not US citizens, US permanent resident aliens, or some other protected classes of individuals. These regulations exist to promote US foreign policy, national security, and economic goals.
While there are many carve outs that exempt some activities at US universities, ECU still is subject to the various US export regulations. So, in our various ECU roles, we have some obligations. Keep in mind that violating US export control regulations can result in significant fines for not only ECU, but for you. Both criminal and civil penalties can apply, including imprisonment. Think it cannot happen to you? Universities in various US states, faculty, and students have been convicted for various violations.
See the following US Department of Commerce summary table for fiscal year 2016 criminal fines and imprisonment, as well as administrative actions, issued for violations of the Export Administration Regulations.
Criminal penalties can reach $1,000,000 and 20 years imprisonment per violation and the administrative penalties can reach the greater of $250,000 per violation or twice the amount of the transaction that is the basis of the violation.
While you might think of these regulations as restrictive, keep in mind that regulations also create, allow for, and protect, the spaces that allow free-thought and expression so commonplace on university campuses. Regardless of your perspective, following are some common university activities where export controls often apply. If you have questions about any of these, please reach out to us!
While many regulations may affect exports, we focus here on those that are most typical for ECU activities here, and we also are opting to give a somewhat oversimplified view.
OFAC - US Office of Foreign Assets Control - Think of OFAC's regulations as top-level restrictions or prohibitions, aka sanctions, that can prohibit engaging in activities with certain countries, but also with specific individuals, regardless of country, because of the individual's role in some undesired activity.
ITAR - International Traffic in Arms Regulations - ITAR focuses on regulating defense articles and services. So, whereas OFAC sanctions are broad in the sense that any engagement in certain activities might be restricted, ITAR regulates only defense-related activities. So, if you're working on research for an item that is to be incorporated into, say a military missile, the ITAR might restrict who can have access to design drawings, or where we can ship prototypes.
EAR - Export Administration Regulations - The collective EAR has a broader scope than the ITAR. For example, nearly any physical shipment is subject to the EAR, and various levels of controls exist depending on the item or activity, the destination, and the intended end use. Despite being subject to the EAR, an item might not require any license. On the other hand, an item might require a license only to certain destinations. Or, the item might require a license if it is intended to be used in a specific way, such as for military end use.
Other regulations with Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements
While the OFAC regulations, the ITAR, and the EAR are the primary purview of export controls, other US agencies sometimes have requirements for the physical movement of goods.
Fundamental research means research in science, engineering, or mathematics, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the research community, and for which the researchers have not accepted restrictions for proprietary or national security reasons.
While most educational activities are not subject to export controls, OFAC sanctions sometimes limit what we can do with sanctioned countries, restricted persons and entities. In many cases, OFAC authorizes certain activities via general licenses. For these, if you're engaging in the activity, say with a professor at a university in a restricted country, it's better to understand that the activity is initially prohibited, yet OFAC authorizes the activity via general license. For activities not already authorized by general license, a specific license might be required. The ECU Office of Export Controls can work with you to determine whether a license is required, and if so, whether the activity is authorized already by general license, or if we need to request a license.
What's an example?
Question 4a: I am a professor who simply wants to work with foreign graduate students who have a passion for may fundamental research topic. What license could I possibly need?
Answer: An OFAC license. If, for example, the graduate student is located in Iran, providing research assistance without a specific OFAC license likely is prohibited. The most highly sanctioned countries where specific licenses might be required to engage in certain activities with students ordinarily resident of those countries include, for example, CUBA, IRAN, NORTH KOREA, SUDAN, and SYRIA.
Question 4b: In my role as a journal editor, I routinely receive submissions from researchers who live in these highly-sanctioned countries. this activity is okay, right?
Answer: Peer review, including substantive editing, typically is allowed. But, be certain not to provide individualized services above routine peer review. These could require specific OFAC licenses. If you're in doubt, please reach out to the ECU Office of Export Controls.
Question 4c: We have many full-time faculty who are from other countries. These have no restrictions, right?
Answer: While full-time university employees generally do not require export licenses to have access to restricted technology, this does not always hold true. For example, some technology and source code releases require that the university employee, including full-time faculty, be a permanent resident of the US throughout employment, be informed in writing that the technology or source code may not be transferred to other foreign nationals without prior US Government authorization even after the tenure of employment at the university, AND the employee cannot be from any of the following countries: AFGHANISTAN, BELARUS, BURMA, CENTRAL AFRICA REPUBLIC, CHINA (PRC), CONGO (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF), CUBA, CYPRUS, ERITREA, HAITI, IRAN, IRAQ, NORTH KOREA, LEBANON, LIBYA, SOMALIA, SUDAN, SYRIA, VENEZUELA, ZIMBABWE. If you think you might be working with restricted technology, please reach out to us.
Interesting...or not-so-interesting...export control tidbits for faculty
The most highly sanctioned countries where specific licenses might be required to engage in certain online courses include, for example, CUBA, IRAN, NORTH KOREA, SUDAN, AND SYRIA.
Keep in mind that the specific license requirement does not prohibit ECU from offering the course if we obtain the specific license first. However, doing so without notifying OFAC and obtaining the specific license may subject ECU, the faculty member, or both, to penalties and event imprisonment depending on the violation. Reach out to the ECU Office of Export Controls if you have any doubts about the course, lecture, or seminar you wish to offer.
We realize that staff routinely are asked to send items internationally either via Mail Services (who leverages USPS), or via Materials Management's Central Stores & Receiving service (who leverages UPS, FedEX, or DHL). Please reach out to the ECU Office of Export Controls if you have any questions about how to complete the customs information or if you need us to vet the recipient.
Recordkeeping requirements apply to all physical exports.
Records must be kept for 5 years after the Date of Export.
Export Compliance Requirement Violations Carry Civil and Criminal Penalties
Knowingly violating US export control regulations can trigger serious civil and criminal penalties.
Sending Routine Documents Internationally
Most staff who send routine admissions documents or contracts internationally appear to be using the USPS. Regardless of carrier, you'll find some helpful information in this section.
First, OFAC regulations prohibit engaging in activities with various persons and entities. Because the lists are routinely updated, you must screen international recipients each time you send a shipment. For routine document shipments, search the list at https://sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov/ to ensure you do not send shipments to prohibited persons or entities. While the vast majority of foreign university destinations are benign, keep in mind that some universities in highly sanctioned countries are prohibited (generally because they have engaged in activities that support the development of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological, and/or nuclear weapons, or terrorist activities). For example, various universities in China and Iran, as well as others, appear on the restricted parties lists.
Next, where you're using the USPS First-Class Mail International service because you're sending only non-negotiable documents and correspondence that weigh under 16 ounces, a customs form is not required. Assuming you really are sending only admissions or similar documents, and for where this service class is not appropriate, please ensure you input the following when completing the Customs Form on USPS.com.
Sending Non-Routine Documents or Emails Internationally
If you are asked to send technical data related to research, engineering designs, etc. physically or via email, send the following information to the ECU Office of Export Controls for further guidance:
Sending Items Internationally
If you are asked to send items internationally, send the following information to the ECU Office of Export Controls for further guidance:
The ECU Office of Export Controls will reach out to you for any additional required information, such as...
Accessing Disclosure History
Annual Conflict of Interest Instructions
Brody Standard Operating Procedure
Candidacy for Elective Office
COI and EPAP FAQ
Travel Disclosure Instructions
Conflict of interest in Human Resource
ECU Faculty Manual
EPAP Decision Tree
EPAP Review and Approval
External Professional Activities for Pay Form Instructions
Guidelines for Implementing the UNC COI and Commitment Policy
National Science Foundation - Research Misconduct
Political Activities for Employees
Public Health Service Promoting-Objectivity in Research
Regulations on External Activities for Pay
Regulations on Promoting Objectivity in Research (PRR)
Regulations for Senior Academics and Administrative Officers on External Professional Activities for Pay and Honoraria
Types of Conflicts of Interest
Public Health Services - Policies on Research Misconduct
Export Control - International Travels
Export Control - International Shipments
Best Practices for Academics Overseas
The following UMCIRB informed consent templates have been revised:
Consent Letter for Expedited Survey Research v. 02.05.18
Consent for More than Minimal Risk Research v. 02.16.18
Consent for No More than Minimal Risk Research v. 02.05.18
Genetic Testing Addendum v. 02.05.18
Language for Use in a Sponsor's Consent Template v. 02.08.15
Parent Permission Form Template: No More than Minimal Risk Research v. 02.05.18
Please begin using these templates immediately and discard any old templates you may have stored on your desktop.
The revisions involve primarily changes to Vidant Health contact information and minor grammatical/editorial changes as needed. These revised templates can be found on our website as well as in ePIRATE.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Policy on the use of a single Institutional Review Board (sIRB) of record for multi-site research became effective January 25, 2018. This policy establishes the expectation that all sites participating in multi-site studies involving non-exempt human subjects research funded by the NIH will use a single Institutional Review Board (sIRB) to conduct the ethical review required by the Department of Health and Human Services regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects. This policy applies to the domestic sites of NIH-funded multi-site studies where each site will conduct the same protocol involving non-exempt human subjects research, whether supported through grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, or the NIH Intramural Research Program. It does not apply to career development, research training or fellowship awards.
This policy applies to domestic awardees and participating domestic sites. Foreign sites participating in NIH-funded, multi-site studies will not be expected to follow this policy.
Investigators are encouraged to consult with the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) prior to including an sIRB plan in their application if they have questions about whether or not ECU should cede IRB review to another IRB or assume the responsibility of being the IRB of record (Reviewing IRB).
You may review the NIH posting regarding sIRB review by clicking here.
If you have additional questions about the sIRB review process or IRB reliance agreements, please call the ORIC at 252-744-2914, or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you will be traveling internationally on behalf of ECU, please submit a completed International Travel form for export control review and approval. Please submit this form as soon as you become aware that you will be traveling internationally. Click here to access the form.
University Program Associate, COI
Director of Export Controls