Fundamental Research

Fundamental research is defined as “basic and applied research in science and engineering where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from research, the results of which are restricted for proprietary reasons or specific US Government access and dissemination controls.”

UCI is a fundamental research research institution, which remains key to maintaining an environment of openness in an academic setting.

Fundamental Research Exclusion

Fortunately, the fundamental research exclusion is applicable to most research activities. The fundamental research exclusion (FRE) is an exemption under export control rules embodied by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Publicly Available and Public Domain

Information is 'published" (and therefore not subject to export controls) when it becomes generally accessible to the interested public in any form, including:

  • Publication in periodicals, books, print, electronic, or other media available for general distribution (including websites that provide free uncontrolled access) or to a community of persons interested in the subject matter, such as those in a scientific or engineering discipline, either free or at a price that does not exceed the cost of reproduction and distribution;
  • Readily available at libraries open to the public or at university libraries;
  • Patents and published patent applications available at any patent office;
  • Release at an open conference, meeting, seminar, trade show, or other open gathering held in the U.S. (ITAR) or anywhere (EAR). 

Educational Information

Educational instruction in science, math, and engineering taught in courses listed in catalogues and associated with teaching laboratories of academic institutions can be excluded from export controls.

Frequently Asked Questions

When the FRE is not available

The Fundamental Research Exclusion is NOT available when:

  • Publication restrictions are accepted from the sponsor (beyond a brief review for proprietary information)
  • Access or participation restrictions are accepted from the sponsor

Consistent with its commitment to the free and open exchange of ideas, the University does what it can to ensure that its personnel are engaged in fundamental research outside the scope of the EAR and ITAR, but there are occasions when the exclusion does not apply.  

The following do not qualify for the Fundamental Research Exclusion:

  • Physical goods
  • Software
  • Encryption
  • Research when there is no intention to publish the results
  • Some research conducted out of the United States