Policy on Export Controls


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Export Controls



While the purpose of research, scholarship, and education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ("UNC-Chapel Hill" or "University") is to ultimately share information and new knowledge, there are times when access to certain data or certain laboratory spaces should be restricted for confidentiality, export compliance, national security, safety, and/or other security reasons. To that end this policy establishes a framework for identifying certain activities, research, and/or research space that requires additional security precautions for export controls compliance or additional procedures to comply with U.S. sanctions, laws, and regulations.

U.S. export control laws govern the transfer of controlled information, items, and technologies to foreign countries and foreign persons for national security purposes. The regulations also seek to further U.S. foreign policy through the administration of trade/economic sanctions. Export control regulations can control everything from technology and data to economic transactions and business partnerships.

Scope of Applicability

All University personnel (including faculty, staff, visiting scholars, and students) and individuals or entities acting on behalf of the University are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.


Policy Statement

It is the policy of UNC-Chapel Hill that all individuals or entities acting on behalf of the University must comply with all United States export control laws and regulations, including the U.S. Department of Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR), the U.S. Department of State's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and the regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Export control regulations are detailed and complex. Their application is defined both by the content being transferred and by the transfer destination, and both factors extend beyond what is intuitive. Export control regulations also apply to certain transfers of technical information and money outside the United States. The UNC-Chapel Hill Export Control Office is responsible for conveying detailed procedural requirements specific to activities that involve export controlled items and/or Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) through this policy and additional standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The empowered official is vested with the authority to oversee compliance with and enforcement of this policy. UNC-Chapel Hill's empowered official is the University Export Control Officer who is the primary steward for the maintenance, management, and supervision of the University Export Compliance Program. According to the U.S. Department of State, “an empowered official has the independent authority to: 1) inquire into any aspect of a proposed export [by the organization]; 2) verify the legality of the transaction and the accuracy of the information [contained in the application]; and 3) refuse to sign any license application or other request for approval without prejudice or other adverse recourse” (Code of Federal Regulations, title 22, section 120.25(a(4)).

It is University policy that its instruction, research, and public service missions will be accomplished openly and without prohibitions on the publication and dissemination of the results of academic and research activities. For this reason, it is vital to avoid actions which may eliminate the University's ability to use exclusions in the export control regulations that protect the University's performance of research and teaching. 

All research activities of UNC-Chapel Hill must support its teaching, research, and public service missions. UNC-Chapel Hill cannot accept any agreement that that purports to restrict or prevent UNC-Chapel Hill from publishing freely the results of its own research. Where agreements allow for delay for the purpose of filing patent applications, the publication may not be delayed for more than one year while patent protection is being secured.

UNC-Chapel Hill does not conduct or accept funding for Classified Research. 

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor approval is required before accepting research project publication restrictions that require a delay in publication of more than one year (or two years for clinical trial agreements), an approval process by an outside entity such as a sponsor or government agency prior to publication, or a general ban on publication/dissemination of research results. All such agreements must be reported in writing to the University of North Carolina system President prior to their execution.

Depending on the type of technology/data or end user/end use of that technology or data, an export license from the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State must be obtained before a foreign person may be given access to an export-controlled item or before an export-controlled item may be transferred to a foreign country. It is the responsibility of any individual listed in the "Scope of Applicability" section of this policy to actively review interactions and transactions for any potential export control nexus based on the information in this policy and supporting SOPs, and to report those questions or concerns to UNC-Chapel Hill's Export Control Officer. Investigators, schools/college, and departments must assist in addressing potential export control issues and in developing appropriate technology control plans or applying for licenses as needed.

Individuals traveling internationally on behalf of UNC-Chapel Hill must contact the Export Control Office before traveling. Each individual must ensure that any information to be discussed while abroad or any items to be taken abroad are not controlled, or, if controlled, that proper licenses are in place. Biological samples must never be transferred without an official agreement in place and prior authorization from UNC-Chapel Hill's Export Control Office.

In addition, UNC-Chapel Hill's Export Control Office is responsible for U.S. sanctions, laws, and regulations. Each individual must ensure that all international travel destinations, international collaborations, payments, or other interactions with sanctioned destinations, parties, or entities have been reviewed and approved by UNC-Chapel Hill's Export Control Office.

Shipping tangible items outside of the United States may require an export license. Shippers should submit the UNC-Chapel Hill Export Control Review Form for International Shipments and receive appropriate export license review from the UNC-Chapel Hill Export Control Office. Shippers should also contact UNC-Chapel Hill’s Environment, Health and Safety Office with details of their shipment before completing any shipping related transactions.

UNC-Chapel Hill's Export Control Office partners with offices, departments, and individuals across the entire UNC-Chapel Hill enterprise. Any individual or organization with authority over a process or transaction with export control implications must work collaboratively with UNC-Chapel Hill's Export Control Officer to establish a reasonable risk mitigation plan.

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in severe civil and criminal penalties for both the employee moving the item/information out of the country and for the employee's institution. Researchers at other universities and other individuals who have violated these laws have received jail sentences and heavy fines.





Classified Research - Research involving the use or production of classified information. Access to classified information requires a U.S. Government issued security clearance.

Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) - Information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls pursuant to and consistent with applicable law, regulations, and government-wide policies but is not classified under Executive Order 13526 or the Atomic Energy Act, as amended.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contacts

UNC Export Control Officer


Article ID: 132084
Thu 4/8/21 9:23 PM
Thu 2/1/24 10:48 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
08/22/2022 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Compliance
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
10/13/2023 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
08/22/2022 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
01/25/2024 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
10/01/2007 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Export Controls Office