Awareness of export control laws and regulations at all stages of any research project (sponsored or non-sponsored) is important.

Consider the following as it relates to your research before work begins:

What are the possible export control issues that may apply to your research project? Questions to ask:

If any of the answers to the questions are "yes," export control measures should be involved and will require working with VUMC Export Compliance along with other central research administrative offices to ensure your project is export compliant.

Best Practices

  • Research - It is important to determine if the research qualifies for the Fundamental Research Exemption (FRE).
  • Encryption / Secure File Transfer - It is critically important that any/all technology, technical data, study methods or procedures, test data, results, methodologies, etc. being shared within and amongst other institutions is appropriately managed electronically. This is especially true if the information needs to be sent internationally.
    • VUMC's prior secure file transfer application known as 'Accellion' has been replaced with 'Sensitivity Labels' in Microsoft Outlook for Office 365 only.
    • If it is necessary to send files, data, or certain confidential/restricted information, please do the following:
      1. Confirm that the information is not export-controlled. If it is or you are unsure, please contact VUMC Export Compliance prior to sending the information/data, etc. (either domestically or internationally)
      2. Confirm that your system has the updated version of Microsoft Outlook for Office 365.
        • If you are using any other version, do not attempt to send encrypted information via Outlook.
        • Connect immediately with your department's IT personnel ( to assist in upgrading your machine.
      3. Confirm that you are behind the VUMC VPN before attempting to use Sensitivity Labels or send encrypted information.
      4. Open a new thread in MS Office. Do not forward controlled information or data from an old thread or attachment.
      5. Follow the guidelines from VUMC's Cybersecurity Office on utilization of Sensitivity Labels for properly marking emails/attachments, as found here:
  • Faculty should be sensitive to information found in proposal preparation documents – RFPs, RFAs, etc. – and collegial discussions suggesting that the proposed research might be export controlled. When in doubt, ask the Sponsor Program contact person. Knowing this early on and collaborating with the central research administrative office, i.e., OSP or OCM, (along with VUMC EC) can save time in negotiations and avoid delays.
    • Please recognize that it is important to allow ample time for contract negotiations/review.
  • Contract Analysts should include documentation in each contract file that agreements have been evaluated for FRE applicability. A review of contracts for export controls is essential prior to the commencement of contract negotiations.
    • Contact VUMC EC as necessary during this analysis process or if restrictions apply to the agreement that void the FRE.
  • Grant Managers should evaluate grant awards for the inclusion of 'non-standard' grant terms and conditions that restrict the ability to publish, the participation of foreign nationals, or restrict access to project materials or technology.
    • Contact VUMC EC prior to accepting the award if such restrictions apply to grants or cooperative agreements.
  • Foreign Collaborations - It is recommended that any known foreign entities and foreign contacts involved in the contract/agreement/grant/research, etc. should be screened through our Restricted Party Screening (RPS) process for inclusion on the denied persons list (DPL): before negotiations, when there are amendments, new task orders, changes, etc. to determine if there are any restricted or denied entities/parties involved (anywhere in the transaction).
    • VUMC Export Compliance (VUMC EC) will assist you in this process.
    • See the RPS page for more details/requirements.

You are encouraged to contact VUMC EC at any time for assistance with restricted party screening (RPS) for denied persons or entities. It is also important to consider foreign travel and shipments as they relate to foreign collaborations.