Export Control Compliance

What is Export Control?

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:

The Military Items list:

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 2023COMMISSION 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:

  • Speaking at a conference, meeting or seminar outside the EU
  • Collaborating with international researchers on research projects
  • Overseas researchers who visit UCD and then bring technology/know-how home with them
  • Teaching outside the EU in areas relating to dual-use items
  • Exporting prototypes, second-hand lab equipment etc.
  • Sending information electronically via email or shared servers
  • Participating in tele or video meetings
  • Academic publications

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.

  • Get informed: Familiarise yourself with the military list and the dual use list (links provided above) and ascertain whether your research area falls under any of the listed items. All researchers should do this so that they know how relevant Export Control rules are generally to their area of research.
  • Undergo provided training:  All researchers are advised to complete our online training on Export Controls. It is a stand-alone module of the Research Integrity training course that is available on Brightspace. You can access the module by logging onto Brightspace using your UCD Connect credentials, click on "Explore", search for the module "Research Integrity Training" and navigate to Section 13:Export Controls. Academic staff need to "View as Student" in order to access the course.  
  • Project Specific Assessment: Researchers must notify UCD Research as early as possible if there are likely to be any Export Control requirements associated with a project. If this is done at proposal stage, that will allow the PI to structure the project so that it is fully compliant with Export Control requirements.   Export control can also be addressed at grant acceptance stage but at that point, export control compliance could result in delay or modification to the project work plan. Funders also require confirmation of compliance with export control rules so if the issue has not been addressed prior to grant acceptance, the funder may not be in a position to proceed with the funding.   Researchers must therefore contact UCD Research as early as possible in the project planning stage.  Where relevant, researchers will be put in touch with the Legal Office who will advise on necessary steps.  The University’s Safety, Insurance, Risk and Compliance (SIRC) Office shall then provide support in applying for export control licence if required.