Export Control Policy and Procedures

It is the policy of Brown University that all personnel, including faculty, staff, students, visiting scientists and scholars, post-doctoral fellows, and all other persons retained by or working at the university comply with all U.S. laws and regulations as they relate to university activities including all export control regulations. Brown’s Export Control and Economic Sanctions Policy outlines the responsibilities of all Brown personnel and the Export Control Compliance Manual is a comprehensive resource describing in detail how Brown University implements its policy.

As an accredited U.S. academic institution, the vast majority of the university’s activities are shielded from Export Controls under the Fundamental Research, Educational Information and Public Information Exclusion.

Export Control Procedures at Brown University

Brown has established a network of internal controls to alert compliance officers when an activity may require export control review.  The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) collaborates with several departments to carefully evaluate proposed transactions and determine whether they fall on the Commerce Control List (CCL) or the U.S. Munitions List (USML).  Additionally, the departments screen the transactions for involvement with Restricted Parties. Here are some examples of ORI’s collaboration with other departments:

  • Reviewing research grants and agreements for potentially restrictive clauses: ORI works with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and Industry Engagement and Commercial Venturing (IECV) to ensure that all incoming research agreements are reviewed for potentially restrictive publication or participation clauses.

  • Reviewing incoming legal agreements and contracts for export control compliance requirements: ORI works with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) to ensure that incoming legal agreements and contracts are reviewed for export control compliance requirements and antiboycott clauses.

  • Purchasing equipment/technology/software: ORI collaborates with Purchasing Services to review and classify certain purchases to be made via a Purchase Order.

  • Transfer of materials or animals that require Material Transfer Agreements: ORI works with Industry Engagement and Commercial Venturing (IECV) to review language for incoming MTAs, and to screen materials being shipped internationally by Brown personnel under an outgoing MTA.

  • Shipping biological materials:  ORI works with Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to resolve any potential “hits” that EHS may encounter as it screens biological materials being prepared for shipment.

  • International Travel and Collaborations: ORI receives alerts from the Internal Review Board (IRB) and from OSP regarding studies that involve international travel or international collaborations. ORI screens potential international collaborators and provides the PI with additional information regarding export controls.

University Export Control Advisory Group

The Brown University Export Control Advisory Group meets semi-annually, or more frequently if necessary. The Group provides guidance to the VPR, ORI and the ECO regarding export control issues at Brown University, including, but not limited to, assisting with the development of policies, guidelines, procedures, training programs pertaining to export control, and facilitating communication and dissemination of information about export control compliance to the Brown community. Membership is comprised of representatives from the Brown research community, the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), the Export Control team, the Office of Sponsored Projects, the Technology Ventures Office, Environmental Health & Safety, the Office of International Scholar and Students Services, the Office of Purchasing and Insurance, Research Development and Facilities Management.  Faculty and others with a vested interest in shaping the future of the export control compliance program at Brown are encouraged to contact the Export Control Officer to learn more about serving on the Advisory Group.


What are antiboycott laws?

Antiboycott laws are federal rules that prohibit U.S. persons from agreeing to participate in unauthorized foreign boycotts. While the initial impetus for these laws was the Arab League boycott of Israel, the requirements are written generally, and apply to any boycott the U.S. government does not endorse.

Examples of antiboycott provisions

In practice, boycott requests can take many forms. For example, you may receive a request for a certification that goods are not coming from a specific country or that goods are not being shipped to a certain country. Another example is a request that you do not engage in business with a particular country. Additionally, a request for information about a business relationship with a specific country or about a person’s race, religion, or national origin can also constitute a boycott request.


Federal antiboycott laws require reporting of any requests to participate in unauthorized boycott. Required Information includes not only the circumstances and content of the request, but also what action the reporting entity (i.e. we at Brown) took. A report must be submitted no more than one month after the end of the quarter in which a request is received.


Currently, penalties are as high as the greater of $284,582 per violation or twice the value of the transaction for civil violations, and up to $1 million in fines and 20 years imprisonment per violation for deliberate, criminal acts. Other possible penalties include loss of export privileges and federal debarment.