Strathclyde hosts Higher Education Export Control Association conference

Exterior of Technology & Innovation Centre.

The third annual conference of the Higher Education Export Control Association (HEECA) is being hosted at the University of Strathclyde Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC) on 5-6 June 2024.

The conference is bringing together practitioners, legal professionals, institutional leaders and government representatives to share best practice on all matters relating to research security. Delegates from 70+ UK universities are joined by national and international speakers to discuss a range of highly relevant and timely topics, including:

  • Managing research projects where export controls and sanctions apply.
  • Due diligence methods and tools
  • Managing and preparing for audits
  • Trusted Research
  • United States Export Control Legislation
  • Achieving a research security culture change in universities.

The event brings together peer organisations from the European Union (European Export Control Association for Research Organisations) and United States (Association of University Export Control Officers) with whom HEECA works closely to share international best practice, alongside academic colleagues from Australia and long-standing support from the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

National security

HEECA, a HE national security practitioner organisation, was established in 2021 by professionals at leading UK research universities: Cranfield University; Imperial College London; University of Cambridge; University of Edinburgh; University of Manchester and University of Strathclyde.

HEECA is designed to maintain a community of best practice sharing, provide guidance and training on research security and to help institutions build an informed and consistent approach to compliance. The Association is recognised as a global leader in supporting research security in Higher Education (HE). HEECA works closely with the UK Higher Education Security Forum to facilitate communication between HE practitioners and senior staff in government departments and other stakeholders with National Security responsibilities.

HEECA builds on and is part of a wider effort across higher education to build a culture of Trusted Research in academia. Higher education institutions have been working proactively and collaboratively with government on compliance methods for over a decade, recognising the need to apply the highest standards of security to the movement of dual-use goods and academic information. HEECA has helped to lead and enhance these efforts, working closely with government on the integration of new legislation, such as the National Security and Investment Act, into university processes and collaborating with government agencies on efforts to raise awareness and compliance.

Avoid risks

UK higher education institutions undertake world-leading research, and it is vital that we protect it to benefit the nation and avoid risks that higher risk research falls into the wrong hands. The third annual HEECA conference represents another key step in helping institutions fulfil this goal. By working collaboratively across the sector, with government and international partners, we can learn from each other and build a system ensuring secure and trusted research excellence.

HEECA conference Keynote speaker and Chief Executive of Universities UK (UUK), Vivenne Stern MBE said: “Over recent years the sector has stepped up to the challenge of mitigating security risks in relation to research. HEECA is an outstanding example of the university sector’s ability to work together to strengthen our systems and share knowledge. It has been instrumental in increasing public and political confidence that universities take these risks seriously.”