How do export controls apply to research?

New Zealand export controls apply to the academic and research community just as much as they do to any other exporter.

If you are exporting anything controlled, including research which may have military utility, you will need to apply for an export permit before any export occurs.  It is recommended you consider Export Controls obligations early as possible in your research journey.  

Exporting in a research context can include:

  • Transferring research undertaken on behalf of an international partner 
  • Transferring research undertaken as part of an international collaboration
  • Taking presentations to international conferences

The export of the content of your research is controlled if it is listed on the New Zealand Strategic Goods List as a controlled technology, or if it is intended for military use or may have military applications (and hence is covered by catch all controls’).

Fundamental or basic research, and information which is in the public domain is not subject to Export Controls.   

If you intend to export anything physical related to your research, this may also require a permit e.g. chemicals, materials, organisms, devices, machines etc.

Be aware and alert

Think outside the box when considering how your research may be used.  Even if you do not intend your research to be used for military purposes, it may still have a dual use. For example, research on advanced metals and other materials.   

While some military uses cannot be predicted, many can. Consider brainstorming applications of your research with colleagues from different fields.   If you have any concerns contact us to talk them through. 

Be aware that not everyone you have dealings with may be honest. We have prepared due diligence and awareness guidance for spotting where importers and overseas collaborators may not be telling the truth. 

If your research is valuable there may also be people who wish to steal it.  This Trusted Research Guidance booklet(external link) prepared by Protective Security Requirements (PSR), Science New Zealand and Te Pokai Tara Universities New Zealand provides useful information on protecting your research.  



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