Export Control

Information on whether your collaboration requires an Export Control Licence.


The UK Government seeks to control the flow of goods and technologies which may have ‘dual use’ potential; ie might be used for military or defence purposes by a foreign government.   This covers not just the physical export of items of equipment or materials, but also information, technology or sharing of research findings which may have application in a military or defence context.

The regulations around export control are quite complex – but the key thing is at least to spot where an export licence may be needed, so that you can seek further advice, and an application submitted if necessary. 

The key points are:

  • Is there an overseas collaborator in the project? (either EU or non-EU)
  • And is the collaboration in an area of research / technology that may conceivably have potential use within a military or defence context?

The main sorts of research collaboration at the University which might raise the need for an export licence will be research around nuclear power, or advanced electronics or materials for aerospace applications, for example.

There is then a detailed list that can be checked (see below) – but the regulations do exclude “basic scientific research” (ie there needs to be an applied dimension to the research – not just fundamental research in a scientific discipline).

Please be aware that it can take up to 6 months to obtain a licence.  You should seek advice early about whether a project is likely to need an export licence, and if so, the period to obtain a licence should be factored into the start date for any project.  The ‘export’ element of a project (eg in terms of transfer of goods, materials, technology, etc) must not begin before an export licence is obtained.

Useful information


The University’s primary contact for Export Control queries and applications is:
Dave Law, Head of Research Operations. Email d.a.i.law@bham.ac.uk


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