The term Fundamental Research is defined as “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.”
Essentially, research results within the definition of fundamental research are excluded from export control laws and regulations. A license is not needed to share these results, even if they are related to items or technology that is otherwise controlled.
This exclusion permits U.S. universities to allow foreign members of their communities (e.g., students, faculty, and visitors) to participate in research projects which involve export-controlled information on campus in the U.S. without needing a license, where information is otherwise controlled by EAR. However, where information is controlled under ITAR, the State Department has taken the position that foreign persons must be licensed or eligible for an exemption before information about controlled items or technology can be shared.
When there is a research project involving equipment or information controlled under ITAR, it is necessary that ORSP conduct a review of the information to be shared in order to determine whether an exemption may exist or whether a license may be required. In no circumstance does the fundamental research exclusion permit the transfer of export-controlled information, materials, or items abroad, even to research collaborators, except under limited circumstances.
Due to the fundamental research exclusion, the University of Denver is allowed to conduct the majority of research activities which fall under the definition of fundamental research without the parameters of export control laws and without needing an export license. Research performed on University premises normally will be considered as fundamental research unless the University or its researchers accept sponsor restrictions on publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the project or activity.