Skip to content

UC International Engagement Enhanced Review

On August 28, 2023, the University of California President issued a letter to the Chancellors and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Director outlining a new comprehensive framework with three core immediate requirements for any University of California (UC) international affiliations and agreements involving emerging technology and countries of concern.

  • Enhanced Review and Approval Process: All affiliations and agreements with international affiliations and engagements related to emerging technology and involving countries of concern will be thoroughly vetted by the campuses, then directed to University of California Office of the President (UCOP) for review.

  • Inventory of International Collaborations: Each Chancellor and the LBNL Director shall furnish UC Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services (ECAS) with a comprehensive inventory detailing all active or currently pending international affiliations and agreements involving foreign countries of concern.

  • Routine Compliance Reporting: Each Chancellor and the LBNL Director will ensure that Export Control Officers (ECOs) will routinely brief their respective campus’ Chief Ethics and Compliance Officers (CECOs) on all active or proposed international affiliations involving emerging technology.

These new requirements are intended to proactively protect our intellectual property, strengthen our collaborations, and preserve the reputation of our research enterprise.

Enhanced Review and Approval Process

What international activities require “Enhanced Review and Approval” by UCOP?

International affiliations and agreements involving emerging technology and countries of concern require Enhanced Review and Approval by UCOP. 

Agreements: A manifestation of mutual assent by two or more parties, made through offer and acceptance. An agreement can be written or oral. Forms of agreements may include contracts, gift agreements, corporate sponsorship agreements, grant agreements, and memoranda of understanding.

Engagements: A general term used to describe an activity that the University or any of its components undertake at the Institutional Level that involves significant or meaningful interaction or exchange with another entity. For the purposes of the President’s letter, “Engagements” is a “catch-all” term to describe Agreements, Affiliations and Collaborations that need to be considered and sent to the President for review and approval if they involve a country of concern and emerging technologies.

Affiliation: An association or relationship of a continuing nature between the University or any of its components (e.g., location or location sub-units) and another organization or individual in support of an academic, research, clinical and/or scholarship program and/or exchange of students, faculty, scholars, and staff.

Collaborations: A general term used to describe an activity that the University or any of its components undertake at the Institutional Level that involves significant or meaningful interaction or exchange with another entity. For the purposes of the President’s letter, this term is used interchangeably with “Engagements.”

What is a Country of Concern?
For the purposes of the framework, countries of concern include China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. International Engagements involving these countries represent higher risks for institutions of higher education based on
federal regulations and policies in these two areas:

  1. . The Sec 19221 of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 identifies China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia as countries of concern for reasons of national security.

  2. The Department of Education’s report on Institutional Compliance with Sec 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 identified China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates as the top foreign sources of funding to U.S. institutions of higher education by total amount (more than $1 billion of the total $6.6 billion reported in 2020). According to this report, funding from China, Qatar and Saudi Arabia came largely from the instrumentalities of those countries’ governments, which may carry a higher risk. The University of California is committed to HEA Sec 117 compliance, and therefore contributions originating from or Engagements with these countries should undergo thorough review.

Due to the possibility of further federal government actions, consider this list dynamic and subject to future updates by UCOP.

What is Emerging Technology?

As a term, Emerging Technology can be used broadly to mean different specific technology areas for various purposes. For the purposes of reviewing international Engagements and affiliations in relation to the President’s Letter, Emerging Technology means a specific but evolving list of technology areas under Sec 1758 of the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA). Based on various federal guidance , technology areas considered Emerging Technology include:

  • Biotechnology (Note: currently, the government has identified the following areas of biotechnology as emerging technology: Nanobiology, Synthetic biology, Genomic and genetic engineering, Neurotech).
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
  • Positioning and navigational technology
  • Microelectronics or Semiconductors
  • Advanced computing
  • Data analytics technology
  • Quantum information and sensing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Robotics and autonomous systems
  • Brain-computer interfaces
  • Hypersonics
  • Advanced materials
  • Advanced surveillance

This list is will be updated periodically. 

Only Institutional level engagements are subject to UCOP review and approval. Institutional level engagements are engagements undertaken by or on behalf of the University, a location or any of its components. For example, signed university agreements.

Individual level engagements, such as professional relationships between a researcher acting in their individual capacity and international parties to collaborate on a research project or co-author a scientific journal are not subject to UCOP review and approval, however, these individual level engagements continue to be subject to review by the UC Merced Export Control Office.

In addition to Individual Level Engagements, here is a short list of Institutional Level activities that would be Out of Scope even if they involve countries of concern and emerging technologies:

Agreement Purpose What may be exchanged
Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) or Confidentiality Agreement (CDA) Transfer of information Proprietary or confidential information
Federally Sponsored grants or contracts, federally sponsored research with foreign subawards, or federally sponsored research with foreign-located collaborators Financial support for research from a federal agency Technology, items, software
Sales and Service Agreement Sale of a UC service related to location facilities, operations, or procurement Technology, items, software
Material Transfer Agreement (MTA Material transfer Technology, items, software
Data Use or Software License Agreement (DUA/SLA) Transfer of information or software Technology, information, software
Patent/Intellectual Property licensing Further technology development Rights
Purchasing or procurement Operational purchase of supplies, equipment and services Goods and services
Gifts under $50,000 from a foreign source associated with a country of concern Provides funding for research, capital projects, or other purposes Goods and services
Degree granting programs without a research component or exchange Agreements for educational exchanges between institutions Educational services