Export Control is a multi-lateral, global mechanism designed to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to preserve regional stability, to prevent terrorism and to protect human rights. Export Controls are rooted in the work of a number of multi-lateral non-proliferation international treaties and conventions. The most relevant for activities at UCD are the EU Dual Use Regulations. Technical experts maintain, and update on an on-going basis, the lists of items and technologies that are subject to these Export Control rules.
Export Controls generally take the form of a legal obligation on exporters to obtain prior authorisation i.e., an Export Licence, from the national competent authority for the export to third countries of the listed items. In Ireland, this means that exporters must apply to the Export Control Unit of the Department of Enterprise Business and Innovation for an export licence before exporting any of the listed items or any technology, technical assistance, software or knowhow relating to those items.
Universities are subject to Export Controls in the very same way as commercial exporters; the motivation or the reason for the export is not relevant. If a University exports a listed item, or exports technical assistance/knowhow etc. relating to a listed item, it must obtain a licence in advance, regardless of the intended use. Whilst academic freedom is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, that does not exempt researchers and Universities from complying with the Regulations.
Current penalties for breaches of export controls are fines of up to €10 million (or three times the value of the technology) and/or a prison sentence of up to 5 years. These penalties can apply to individual researchers as well as to the University. Irish funding bodies also include Export Control clauses as part of the grant terms and conditions.
The EU Commission has recently published their Recommendation 2021/1700 aimed solely at the University sector to provide guidelines on how Universities can comply with export control. We are currently working through the Recommendation and further information will be provided in due course. In the meantime, if you have queries or believe you have an immediate requirement for an Export Control Licence, please contact us via the UCD Connector.
The legislative framework for Export Controls in Ireland is established in a number of extremely complex linked national and EU instruments with the technical lists being updated regularly. The two primary lists that UCD researchers must check are as follows:
COMMON MILITARY LIST OF THE EUROPEAN UNION adopted by the Council on 17 February 2020
Items on the military list need an export licence to leave Ireland.
See annex 1 and categories 0-9:
Updated January 2023: COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) 2023/66 amending Regulation (EU) 2021/821
EU REGULATION (EU) 2021/821 of 20 May 2021
Items on the Dual-Use list need an export licence to leave the EU.
The term ‘export’ covers a broad range of essential University activities, including for example:
There are certain exemptions for basic scientific research and for material that is already in the public domain, but these exceptions or “decontrols” are interpreted very narrowly and need to be considered carefully on a case by case basis as to whether they might apply.