Export Controls

Tufts University recognizes the importance of complying with all U.S. export control regulations and is committed to full compliance with these regulations.

Background & Objective

In practice, these rules govern what research instruments, materials (including biologics), software and technology that we, as a U.S. institution, can export (i.e. transfer) out of the country by any means; and what sensitive items and technology we can share with foreign national individuals (visa holders) studying, researching, working in, or visiting our facilities. These regulations also inform what research and business partners we engage with to the extent that we must avoid U.S. government-restricted or prohibited entities (entities of concern from a national security, export control or embargoed-country perspective).


Export Control Red Flags Checklist
Export Control FAQs

How are these regulations enforced?

U.S. Government export authorities strictly enforce export control through substantial civil and criminal penalties and sanctions, federal debarment and revocation of export privileges. Agencies have audit authority and can mandate costly oversight protocols. In addition, because of the national security implications to export control, liability for violations can be enforced against an individual employee to whom an intentional violation is attributable, separate from our institutional liability.

How do we address these requirements at Tufts?

1. Compliance Oversight: Tufts’ export compliance program is led by the Associate Vice Provost for Research Compliance (“AVPRC”). The AVPRC is responsible for facilitating export compliance across all export-sensitive research activities.

  • In the event of a suspected compliance violation, the AVPRC may suspend any transaction leading to (or causing) such suspected violations and will coordinate investigative and remedial efforts. The AVPRC is supported by Export Liaisons designated from operational functions and export-sensitive research departments and centers; our external consultant also provides export compliance guidance and procedural support.

2. Core operational/business functions: All key functions have been identified and are receiving ongoing training to implement their respective export compliance responsibilities, as follows:

  • Identification and negotiation of restrictive (publication and citizenship) clauses in sponsored agreements; post contract/grant export compliance administration, including Technology Control Plans (TCPs) and export licenses; selectively screening research and contract partners against U.S. Government watch-lists
  • Coordinating the required export control certification process associated with H-1 and O-1 visa petitions, as well as the export control evaluation process associated with J-1 and F-1 scientific researchers; selectively screening visa candidates against restricted party watch-lists
  • Coordinating export control requirements and training with respect to biologics contained BSL 2 and 3 laboratories
  • Proactively identifying export controlled items being purchased that may, in certain circumstances, trigger foreign national access and use restrictions; vendor screening
  • Tracking the location and relocation of export controlled items on campus
  • Coordinating export control requirements with respect to certain chemicals, radioactive and laser equipment
  • Developing data security protocols as required for export-sensitive projects, High Performance Computing systems, or in compliance with other federally-mandated contract provisions
  • Ensuring that Tufts avoids payment transactions with U.S. Government-restricted parties and entities
  • Review of industry contracts and proprietary agreements for export control implications; review of NDAs and MTAs which potentially convey, respectively, export controlled data and items; implementing safeguards associated with export controlled invention disclosures and ensuring that commercial licensees are screened against the lists of U.S. Government-restricted parties and entities

3. Research:

  • International Shipments: When shipping internationally, please reach out to the Operational Purchasing office (Luke.Duffney@tufts.edu) with information on the shipment so that an export license determination can promptly occur; where needed, an export license can be obtained.
  • Technology Sharing: Certain items used in fundamental research including instruments, software, biological materials (BSL-2 and 3 contained), and technical data may be export controlled, even if the research itself is not otherwise publication or citizenship-restricted. Sharing export controlled technology pertaining to such items with foreign national members of our community (visa holders studying, working, researching or visiting) may constitute a “deemed” export requiring specific government authorization prior to sharing the technology. If such requirements are not already specified in a Technology Control Plan (TCP) or you are not sure about whether such requirements apply, seek guidance from the AVPRC.
  • Visa Petitions: When hosting visa holders (e.g. J-1 visiting scholars, F-1 graduate research students, H-1 or O-1 employees) within export-sensitive science research environments, timely response to the Export Control Certification for I-129 Form issued by Immigration Services enables us to determine whether there are deemed export issues associated with the foreign national’s research work.
  • Hosting International Visitors: When planning to host a visiting international delegation, contact the AVPRC well in advance of such visit, so that we can screen such delegation (typically the home institution) against the U.S. Government watch lists to avoid engagement with restricted parties.
  • International Travel: When international travel involves the temporary or permanent transfer of research tools or samples (either by advance cargo shipment or through hand-carried baggage), please contact the AVPRC for assistance in determining whether export authorizations are required.
  • Engagement with Sanctioned Countries: When planning any engagement with any person or entity located in one of the embargoed countries (Iran, Cuba, Syria, Venezuela), proactively contact the AVPRC who will assist you in complying with OFAC requirements.


Export Control compliance is an essential obligation for everyone in our community. Do not hesitate to seek guidance on an export control matter. If you become aware of a potential export control problem, report it immediately to the campus EthicsPoint hotline. The vast majority of export control violations are inadvertent: timely reporting of a suspected problem is the best mitigation of an inadvertent violation.