Protect your intellectual property and research while traveling abroad

All Marquette faculty, staff and students need to be aware of the risks and compliance expectations when traveling internationally with a work laptop or with a personal device that contains certain types of information. Federal laws called export controls govern the transmission of controlled items and associated technical data to foreign nationals. These regulations protect national security and safeguard sensitive controlled technologies, information and equipment.

Protect your intellectual property and mitigate the risk of penalties by reviewing the university’s export policy, UPP 2-02, and seeking guidance for any questions or concerns. Under certain conditions, the export of specific technology is either prohibited or requires an export license issued by the U.S. Government, and the university can help facilitate that with advanced planning and receipt of necessary paperwork.

“Many employees and students may not be aware these laws apply to them, but failure to comply can have consequences for their research and projects, including criminal and civil penalties for both individuals and the university, including fines, loss of research funding and legal actions,” said Katherine Durben, executive director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. “Allow at least eight weeks ahead of your trip to check against the guidance we provide to ensure enough time for any necessary compliance preparation.”

Marquette engages in research, collaboration and international relationships that have the potential to fall under export control regulation, including the development of products, goods, hardware, software or other materials. An export license may be required when an item’s export is not covered by an exemption or exclusion and if the destination country is subject to sanctions or restrictions. In addition to personal travel, these laws still apply when goods are shipped in any manner, including email, or when hosting international visitors.

Required forms are available on the export controls and compliance webpage, and some processes require advance planning to ensure completion before your plans. Those impacted may need to apply for a license:

  • Four weeks prior to a researcher’s foreign travel
  • Eight weeks prior to a foreign shipment
  • Eight to 10 weeks prior to a foreign visitor traveling to Marquette.

“To be clear, export controls do not prevent collaboration. Rather they are intended to protect all parties involved,” Durben said. “It is critical that the university as well as its faculty, staff and students remain in compliance so that we can continue to work with specific individuals, companies, government bodies or groups around the world.”

Frequently asked questions

The following are some frequently asked questions regarding export controls. A more extensive list is available on the export controls and compliance webpage with resources and guidance pertaining to travel, hosting international visitors and transferring goods.

Q: What are export controls?

A: Export controls refer to the laws and regulations that restrict the export of certain goods, technology, and information to certain countries, entities or persons for national security or foreign policy reasons. Examples of controlled items include software, encryption technology, military and dual-use technology, and certain chemicals and biological agents. Export controls are enforced by several government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Treasury.

More information about export control policy is available on the export controls and compliance webpage. Answers to frequently asked questions – including what activities are impacted by export control policies and when a license is required – are also available.

Q: What activities are impacted by export controls and regulations?

A: Export control laws and regulations affect various university activities including, but not limited to conducting research (sponsored and unsponsored), international travel, publishing research, procurement, sponsoring foreign persons (e.g., visiting scholars), collaborations with non-U.S. individuals or entities, international shipments, non-disclosure agreements, and certain services to embargoed or sanctioned countries.

Q: When would I need an export control license?

A: You may need an export control license when you are:

  1. Traveling to a foreign country with technology, materials or equipment; or
  2. Shipping technology, materials or equipment

Q: What triggers an export control review/potential need for a license?

A: An export control review should occur when:

  1. Any good, information or technology is being shipped abroad
  2. Foreign party restrictions are stated in the sponsored agreement
  3. International travel to countries subject to U.S. embargoes and sanctions is being contemplated
  4. Sponsor is providing export-controlled technology, technical data or equipment
  5. Non-U.S. students or visiting scholars are participating in a restricted project
  6. Project is sponsored by a defense contractor
  7. Project is military, space-related or has other implications to national security
  8. Project will be conducted abroad or with a foreign sponsor or collaborator
  9. Sponsor/entity/research/collaborator is in a sanctioned country
  10. Publication, access, and dissemination restrictions in the sponsored research agreement exist.

If export controls are applicable, the project could require a plan or an export license before starting the activity. If you need an export control review, please complete the applicable form.