Research Export Controls


** NEW UPDATE: UNSW Research Export Controls Module is now available in Moodle. Please see below for details on how to register **

Does your research explore technology that can be adapted for military use? Could your research compromise Australian defence capabilities if it falls into the wrong hands? Could components of your research be used as weapons parts?

Are you planning to exchange emails with overseas collaborators that could include technical details with a potential to be adapted for military use?

Whilst the primary aim of the Australian export controls system is to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction falling into the wrong hands, our rapidly evolving research environment creates technology and products that can easily be adapted to confer military advantage to parties overseas.

Your exchange of technology and products involving both military and so-called ‘dual use’ goods and technology with overseas parties is subject to legislative controls which, if breached, may incur significant personal and financial penalties.

At UNSW, we implemented a working system enabling you as the researcher to identify, and if appropriate, seek guidance and relevant permits to collaborate with overseas partners to conduct research and consultancies. The UNSW Research Export Controls Procedure describes the UNSW framework.

The Australian Department of Defence recently re-designed their export controls website. It provides a wealth of information for you in the first instance. Please visit their website and check out areas that are of specific interest and subject to export controls.

You can also access their dedicated training resources which you may want to encourage members of your research group to complete. The RECS unit has released a UNSW specific Research Export Control Module which is now available on Moodle. Please see below for details on how to enroll. 

The Department of Defence website also lists the relevant application forms you may need to complete to get an assessment from Defence if your research falls into the export controls domain, or to apply for a permit to share your technology or intended products with partners overseas.

In the first instance, it is helpful to search the Australian Defence Strategic Goods List (in short DSGL) for items that are subject to an export permit if the intention is to share the technology or items with parties overseas. You can search the Online DSGL here.

We would recommend that you contact our office ( to get a brief 10-minute personal introduction to help you navigate the DSGL. This complex list has been developed and is updated regularly as a cooperation by 40+ countries to enable the control of proliferation of weapons internationally. We can help you getting an initial overview.

The following content provides you with further information on this topic:

Export of goods, supply of technology, brokering and publication

The term ‘export controls’ refers to the control of the supply, export, publication or brokering of military and dual-use goods and technology to overseas. Below provides further information on each activity:

  • Export: Export of tangible controlled goods and technology from Australia to overseas. This can be sent by ship, aircraft, post, courier, or as checked-in or hand-held luggage. A tangible export can include technology stored on a physical medium such as a USB, computer hard drive, diagram, notes, and blueprints.
  • Supply: Intangible supply or transfer of controlled technology from Australia to overseas in a non-physical form (i.e. electronically). Some examples include supply via email, fax, uploading information to a server or providing a password access to electronic files.
  • Publication: Publication is the act of placing controlled military technology (as defined by the DSGL) in the public domain and making it publicly available. Once controlled military technology is published in the public domain, it is no longer possible to regulate who has access to it. This includes publishing on the internet, publishing an article in a journal and publication of conference proceedings. 
  • Brokering: Brokering occurs when a person, acting as an agent or intermediary, arranges the transfer of controlled items between two or more persons located outside Australia, and receives a benefit (e.g. money or non-cash payment or advances in their political, religious or ideological cause). 

Complete a search of the online DSGL tool to find out whether your goods, technology or activities are listed in the DSGL. 

Do I need a permit?

Permits from the Department of Defence are required for tangible and intangible exports or ‘controlled activities’  listed in the DSGL. If your initial search of the online DSGL tool indicates that your intended export or activity is controlled, or if you are in doubt, please contact our office ( and we will assist you in submitting an application to obtain a permit or assessment from the Department of Defence.

Export controls in other countries

Many other countries have their own, often stringent, controls in place for the import and export of controlled goods and technology. This means that in addition to checking for the need to obtain a permit to export from Australia you also need to check whether there are permit requirements in the countries you intend to enter, depart and exchange goods and technology with. Where possible speak to your international collaborators to seek the relevant information.

Below are some links to international requirements:

UNSW Research Export Control Module - Registration Details

The UNSW Research Export Control training module is now live on Moodle.

The course aims to assist UNSW staff and students in understanding their export control obligations involved in their research or teaching where they intend to export or share 'controlled' goods, software and/or technology overseas or engage in 'controlled' activities. 

Instructions to register:

To register for the UNSW Research Export Control Module, please login to myUNSW.

Please select 'My Staff Profile' and 'Learning and Development' and then select 'Course Number'. Please search for the course 'RECSEC'

Once you have registered, you will receive an email notifying if your registration is successful. The course will be available in Moodle 24 hours after registering. 

Completing the course

The course will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. There will be knowledge review questions throughout the course. You will be required to answer each question correctly to successfully complete the course. A record of completion will be retained within myUNSW.

Complaints, allegations of non-compliance & grievances

UNSW has established a complaints, allegations of non-compliance and grievances framework for UNSW staff, students and persons external to the University to ensure transparency and oversight of research aligned with RECS portfolios. 

Complaints and allegations of non-compliance about the conduct of research by UNSW staff, students and visitors involving 'controlled' goods, technology, software and/or activities as defined by the Defence Strategic Goods List are to be reported to the Director, Research Ethics & Compliance Support (RECS), Samela Husakovic.. Where deemed appropriate, matters may be referred to the UNSW Conduct & Integrity Office.

Grievances about processes for research export controls by UNSW staff and students should be addressed directly to the Director RECS to be assessed against institutional and legislative frameworks.