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Research Proposals, Agreements & Export Controls

Export Controls & Research Proposals/Awards

Warning iconDo not upload your proposal to the PAF or a progress report to an award (AWD) if the document contains export controlled technical data, schematics, formulae, and/or other detailed descriptions of export controlled technology.  

Contact the Export Controls Program for further assistance.

Export Controls & Unfunded Agreements (UFAs)

Your answer to the “openness in research” question on a Materials Transfer Agreement (MTA) or Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in eResearch may indicate potential export controls.  The Export Controls Office reviews the agreement terms and conditions to remove potential export controls if possible. 

Warning iconDo not upload documentation that contains export controlled technical data, schematics, formulae, and/or other detailed descriptions of export controlled technology into the UFA.

When to Indicate Potential Export Controls

Investigators are asked to consider the potential for export controls on their research activity when submitting:

  • A proposal for sponsored research, or
  • A research activity agreement (e.g., materials transfer agreement or non-disclosure agreement) 

PAF:  Export Controls Question

The eResearch Proposal Approval Form (PAF), which is required for submission of sponsored proposals at U-M, facilities this consideration. 

Image of the Export Controls question in the PAF






By selecting “Yes” or “Unsure,” the Principal Investigator (PI) is required to provide an initial description and, should the proposal be funded, answer further clarifying questions at the award stage. 

Blue info iconORSP Project Representatives and/or the U-M Export Controls Officer may review any proposal for export controls considerations and request additional information, even if the initial answer in the PAF is “no.”

If More Information Is Needed

At award time, a system email notifies the PI and the Primary Pre- and Post-Award Research Administrators listed on the PAF that additional export control details are needed.  By answering “yes” to any of the following questions in eResearch and providing descriptive detail, you help the U-M Export Control Officer determine whether the project involves export controls and requires a Technology Control Plan, an Export License, or both.

  1. Does the research involve potential military application, defense technology or software, or other defense articles?
  2. Does the research involve export restricted science or engineering areas (e.g., defense areas, missiles, weapons, satellites or other space technology, select agents or toxins, encryption technology)?
  3. Does the research involve technology or equipment with a strong potential dual use application (i.e., both civilian and military use)?
  4. Does any of the research take place outside the U.S., or do you anticipate any international travel on this project?
  5. Does the research involve transfer of project information, equipment, materials or financial support out of the U.S. (e.g., sending project deliverables or providing funding via a subcontract internationally)?
  6. Is any member of the project team a foreign national (i.e., not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident), or does the research involve any foreign visiting scientists or other foreign entities (i.e., non-U.S. companies or other organizations)?
  7. Does the solicitation indicate that any of the following will be included in the eventual award: approval prior to publication, export control restrictions, restrictions on access or participation of foreign nationals, or a U.S. government security classification/clearance?

Award Negotiation

Prior to accepting an award, ORSP negotiates with sponsors to remove any initial contract language and terms that restricts publication or project personnel.  U-M Innovation Partnerships conducts similar negotiations for material transfer agreements (MTAs).  If accepted, these restrictions override the fundamental research exception (FRE) and result in the research or research activity being subject to export controls.  

Even when publication and personnel restrictions are removed, your research or research activity may be subject to export controls if it involves items, materials, technology, and/or information on ITAR’s United States Munitions List (USML) or EAR’s Commerce Control List (CCL).  This includes travelling internationally with these items or information.


For questions regarding export controls, contact the Export Controls Office at:

For question about how to use the eResearch Proposal Management system to enter a PAF or an MTA, contact the ITS Service Center:

Submit an online service request
(734)-764-HELP (764-4357)