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Export Control at Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University is committed to complying with UK Export Control law. As such, the University has adopted an Export Control Policy​ and developed these webpages to help researchers fulfil their obligations under UK law. 

Who is most likely to be affected?

In the academic context, export controls are most likely to apply in relation to scientific and technical research with potential military or WMD applications, particularly relating to:
  • the development of military and security-related goods, software or technology
  • nuclear science or engineering
  • missiles, aerospace and space technology
  • autonomous vehicles and stealth technology
  • some high strength materials and material production techniques
  • some chemicals with toxic properties;
  • some viruses, pathogens and vaccines
  • some sensors and lasers
  • some high specification electronics and cryptography

However, all researchers, particularly those in the scientific and engineering disciplines, need to be aware of and comply with export control regulations. This forms part of the duty for all researchers to ensure that any University business they undertake is carried out in compliance with all applicable legal obligations.


The responsibility for compliance with export control regulations ultimately rests with the Principal Investigator (PI). Compliance with export control legislation requires the PI to consider whether they may need an export licence from the Export Control Joint Unit to carry out an activity and, if required, to obtain the licence before any export is made. Failure to obtain a licence when one is required or failure to observe the terms of a licence is a criminal offence for which the PI responsible is likely to be liable.

Principal Investigators, particularly in science and engineering disciplines, should ensure that they:
  1. are aware whether their research may be subject to export control legislation
  2. have read and understood the University’s Export Control Policy and these guidance webpages
  3. consider the guidance on these webpages whenever embarking on an activity that could:
  • lead to the physical, electronic or oral export outside the UK of goods, software or technology:
​- that they have been informed by the Export Control Organisation are covered by export control
- that are covered by sanctions or embargo when exported to their intended destination
- with the potential for military or WMD use

  • ​involve the transfer of knowledge within the UK for use in a WMD programme outside the UK
  • involve the transit of goods, software or technology through the UK.

Next Steps

If you suspect that export control may apply to your work please:
  1. ​Read these pages for initial guidance on export control
  2. Consider the Basic Awareness Flowchart, scope and read the University's Export Control Policy​
  3. If you still suspect that export controls may apply to you work use the Export Control Organisation's Goods Checker Tool to establish if the items or technology you intend to exprot are on the control lists
  4. if you suspect that export controls may apply to work you intend to undertake, complete the Export Control Enquiry Form​; and
  5. Contact RDM@napier.ac.uk ​(including a copy of your completed Export Control Enquiry Form).
Our Research Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) team at Edinburgh Napier University will work with you to decide whether a licence should be applied for or not. It should be noted, however, that the decision as to whether to apply for an export licence is a technical one that can only be made by someone with a good knowledge of the project concerned and the nature of the goods, technology or software to be exported. The decision will, therefore, rely primarily on the advice given by the Principal Investigator (PI).