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Fundamental Research Exclusion


Most W&M research is considered Fundamental Research and is therefore excluded from export control laws. 

Fundamental Research is defined in National Security Division Directive 189 as follows:  "Fundamental research means basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons."


The Fundamental Research Exclusion is DESTROYED IF:

W&M accepts any contract clause that:

(1)  forbids the participation of foreign persons;

(2)  gives the sponsor a right to approve publications resulting from the research; or

(3)  otherwise operates to restrict participation in research and/or access to and disclosure of research results.

Note that side deals between a PI and Sponsor to comply with any of the above-specified clauses, even if not explicitly expressed in the research contract, may obviate the Fundamental Research Exclusion and expose both the PI and W&M to penalties for export control violations.


While the Fundamental Research Exclusion applies broadly to research at W&M, not all activities are exempt.  For example, export controls may restrict:

  • the ability of foreign students or researchers to participate in research in the United States;
  • the ability to provide services (including training in the use of equipment) to foreign persons;
  • the ability to conduct commercial transactions with entities in certain countries;
  • the ability to send equipment, spare/replacement parts, technology or software to foreign countries; and
  • the ability to collaborate with researchers in foreign countries.


Importantly, the Fundamental Research Exclusion applies only to the dissemination of research data and information, not to the transmission of material goods.