University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you.

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings.

Export Control Information

Sensitive areas of the economy

 Subject Area  Detail on what is covered
Advanced Materials 

Generally, Advanced Materials cover the following:

  • advanced composites
  • metals and alloys
  • engineering and technical polymers
  • engineering and technical ceramics
  • technical textiles
  • metamaterials
  • semiconductors
  • photonic and optoelectronic materials and devices
  • graphene and related 2D materials
  • nanotechnology
  • critical materials
  • other materials

Advanced Robotics

‘Advanced robotics’ also includes the ability to use sensors to carry out sophisticated surveillance and data collection. This does not include simple data capture such as CCTV cameras (or other static devices) but includes robots with the ability to capture high fidelity data from their environment, including those that may be entirely pre-programmed or remotely controlled. This would include reconnaissance activities by drones, satellites, underwater vessels or other forms of mobile robot.

Artificial Intelligence

‘Artificial Intelligence’ is defined in the regulations as:

“technology enabling the programming or training of a device or software to:

  1. perceive environments through the use of data
  2. interpret data using automated processing designed to approximate cognitive abilities and
  3. make recommendations, predictions or decisions

with a view to achieving a specific objective”

‘Cognitive abilities’ means reasoning, perception, communication, learning, planning, problem solving, abstract thinking, decision-making or organisation

Civil Nuclear

N/A to Reading


N/A to Reading

Computing Hardware

The creation, supply or exploitation of intellectual property of any of the following products or functions:

  • computer processing units
  • architectural, logical or physical designs for such units
  • the instruction set architecture for such units
  • code, written in a low-level language, that can control how such units operate
  • integrated circuits with the purpose of providing memory

Computer processing units include field central processing units (CPUs), programmable gate arrays (FPGA), microcontrollers, system on chips, graphics processor units and specialist processors for Artificial Intelligence applications

Critical Suppliers to Government

N/A to Reading

Cryptographic Authentication

Where the technical method depends on cryptography, rather than a non-technical method such as checking the signature of an individual or that their face matches their driving licence, it is deemed to be a sensitive technology.

Organisation that provide cryptographic authentication operate across much of the economy, providing software and hardware tools for businesses to enable a number of key capabilities, including:

  • verification of user identity through passwords, 2-factor or multi-factor authentication (such as a hardware token or software application)
  • authentication of a human-operated or automated device to a network to allow access to the network, data and other resources
  • verification of the origin and integrity of an email, message or document through digital certificates, and security protocols

These functions can be enablers of further security steps, such as management of access, and help to prevent unauthorised access to data, network resources, personal information, physical spaces, intellectual property and other assets. This might include use or ownership of a device containing a cryptographic key. It can include determining the identity or some attributes of the device owner asserted by an authoritative third party or recognising the user as a repeat visitor or as the owner of a previously established account.

Data Infrastructure

Data infrastructure is physical or virtualised infrastructure used for storing, processing or transmitting data in digital form or infrastructure that is provided for peering, interconnection or exchange of digital data


If this is related to national defence capability or work done on MoD/DSTL funded work


Supply of

  • upstream oil and gas
  • downstream gas
  • electricity
  • downstream oil

Military and Dual-Use

Falls under export control regulations

Quantum Technologies

Development and production of Quantum technologies. These are technologies that employ the mathematical theory of quantum mechanics to describe the physical world and process information in new ways. Quantum technologies cover the following technology groups:

  • quantum communications
  • quantum connectivity
  • quantum imaging, sensing, timing or navigation
  • quantum resistant cryptography
  • quantum information processing, computing or simulation

Satellite and Space Technologies

Operating, developing, producing, creating, or using any of these activities:

  • space debris management
  • in-orbit activities
  • satellite communication links
  • secure facilities
  • manufacture or testing
  • space-derived data for any defence purpose
  • space infrastructure operational control facilities
  • provision or processing of space situational awareness data (SSA)

Suppliers to the Emergency Services

N/A to Reading

Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology is defined in the regulations as the process of applying engineering principles to biology to design, redesign or make biological components or systems that do not exist in the natural world.

Synthetic biology includes but is not limited to the following:

  • the design and engineering of biological-based parts of:
    • enzymes
    • genetic circuits and cells
    • onovel devices and systems
  • redesigning existing natural biological systems
  • using microbes to template materials
  • cell-free systems
  • gene editing and gene therapy
  • the use of DNA for data storage, encryption, and bio-enabled computing. This includes approaches which may be adapted to permit cryptography. It also includes using nucleic acids as part of an overall computing system alongside, for example, silicon and quantum computing approaches


N/A to Reading

Virus and pathogen research including vaccine development



Further information, including detailed definitions of each area, can be found here in the National Security and Investment Act Guidance.


Red flags list

If your technology is on the list below, its export may be controlled:

  • Technology which could support activities in facilities which house weapons technology or delivery programmes (including hardened underground facilities and hermetically sealed buildings).
  • Hydrophones or sonar equipment.
  • Chemicals with toxic properties can cause serious injury or death. Could your research be applied for this purpose?
  • Fissile materials or radioactive materials or equipment for their detection or handling.
  • Materials characterisation equipment.
  • Opto-electronics (lasers).
  • Ocean bottom survey equipment.
  • Materials production techniques.
  • Carbon fibre with high tensile properties, high nickel alloys, high grade aluminium, vacuum systems, propellants etc.
  • High grade radio-active material – could it be emitted into the atmosphere and contaminate the environment?
  • Ancillaries and support equipment at some facilities, such as those which house uranium enrichment centrifuges or nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities, can also be of concern even if the technology is itself ubiquitous.
  • Electromagnetic absorption.
  • Unmanned equipment (even if used by you only for atmospheric research).
  • Uranium enrichment for non-civil nuclear energy.
  • Autonomous vehicles.
  • Ground penetrating radar.
  • Stealth technology.



Basic Scientific research: This is experimental or theoretical work. It is undertaken to solely obtain new knowledge of the fundamental principles of phenomena or observable facts. It is not directed towards a specific practical aim or goal

Public domain: This is technology or software freely available without restrictions on its further dissemination