The concept of "fundamental research" was established by National Security Decision Directive 189 (see Related Items Below). NSDD 189 defines fundamental research as:
"Basic and applied research in science and engineering where the resulting information is to be shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons."
NSDD 189 intends that the conduct and informational products of fundamental research are to be unfettered by deemed export restrictions. It also states that research whose results carry dissemination or foreign national access restrictions does not qualify as fundamental research outside the scope of US export control regulation.
Because export regulations expressly recognize that the conduct and informational products of fundamental research are excluded from deemed export controls, export licenses or other government approval is generally not needed before involving foreign persons in fundamental research activity at Stanford. However, such research may give rise to export issues if 1) the primary research is to be conducted outside of the US; 2) requires foreign person access to ITAR-listed items and technical data; or 3) requires foreign person access to disclosure-restricted technical information or software code generated by third parties such as defense contractors, commercial vendors or collaborators.