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Guidance for Academics on Export Control


Background to Export Control​

The United Kingdom has an obligation to ensure that goods, technology or software that can be used for a military purpose or contribute towards the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are not exported into the wrong hands. To meet this obligation, and also to implement UN or EU sanctions, anyone who exports goods or technology must comply with export control legislation.

The Export Control Organisation has issued a short introductory film​ to explain Export Control and why it is important.

From 1 January 2021, export control requirements have been expanded to include all exports of controlled dual-use items and technologies to the European Union. 


Export control can affect research activities and occasionally teaching. All University researchers need to know whether their work has the potential to be subject to export control legislation.

​Export control affects the physical, electronic or oral transmission outside the UK of:

  1. Items with a direct military use as listed on the UK Strategic Export Control Lists.
  2. Dual-use items (i.e. civil items and technologies that could be used for Weapons of Mass Destruction [WMD] or military purposes) as listed on the Control Lists.
  3. Items that are not specifically listed on the Control Lists, but are intended, either in their entirety or in part, for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) purposes. WMD controls only apply if you have been informed of, are aware or suspect WMD end use.
  4. Items to be exported to a specific country which is subject to an embargo or sanctions (note that sanctions may include items that are not included on the Control Lists). End use controls apply to sanctioned activities; i.e. an export cannot occur if the exporter knows that the items would be used in relation to a sanctioned activity.
  5. Items that are not specifically listed on the Control Lists, but you are aware or are informed that the items are (or may be) intended for the incorporation into or for the development, production, use or maintenance of military equipment in a location subject to an arms embargo, or where you are aware that items will be used as parts or components of military goods illegally obtained from the UK. (These circumstances are unlikely to apply to academic research).

Controls cover not only tangible goods, but also software, data, technology (i.e. information) and know-how. Technology is only covered where it is necessary for the development, production or use of a controlled item. Controls also apply to trafficking or brokering goods between two overseas countries and for exports of items. 

Transfers of items or information within the UK are only subject to export control when it is known that the ultimate end use is related to WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) outside the UK.

Further Information