A focus on research of an international quality and the fostering of an outstanding research culture have positioned UWA as one of the best universities in Australia and in the top 150 in the world.

Further information

  • Defence Export Controls
  • The Defence and Strategic Goods List
  • Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011


Commonwealth law prohibits training researchers in a list of 'sensitive' topics if they are from a country regulated by sanctions laws. If you are planning to work with a PhD student, Masters by Research student, Post-doctoral Fellow, or a visiting academic, who is a citizen of the countries listed in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's (DFAT) list of sanction countries (illustrated in the following diagram), please contact the Associate Director for Research Ethics and Integrity to assist you in evaluating special arrangements that might be required:

The two Acts of Parliament governing this are the:

  • Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 (Cth, also called the United Nations Act)
  • Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 (Cth) and the associated Regulations.

The regulatory agency for these laws is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).  Staff at the University's Office of Research (OoR) can assist you in compliance with this legislation.

What are the sensitive topics?

Sanctions apply to training on sensitive topics. However they vary depending on the citizenship of the person you wish to work with. Topics are mostly, but not exclusively, identified in the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL). They include several topics that are an important part of UWA research, including specific sub-topics within each of the following general areas: 

  • Nuclear materials;
  • Materials Processing (this includes biological material such as some viruses, bacteria, fungi and toxins);
  • Electronics;
  • Computers;
  • Telecommunications and Information Security;
  • Sensors and Lasers;
  • Navigation and Avionics;
  • Marine;
  • Materials, Chemicals, Micro-organisms and Toxins;
  • Aerospace and Propulsion.

The specific topics within each of those general areas can be viewed in MS-Word or PDF is available online (click here). To obtain a detailed assessment, please contact the support person listed below.

For people from Iran there are the additional items listed in the Autonomous Sanctions (Export and Import Sanctioned Goods – Iran) Amendment Specification 2016.

Autonomous Sanctions vs Defence Trade Controls

Sanctions are regulated by the  Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

A different but overlapping area of Commonwealth regulation is Defence Trade Controls, which are administered by the Commonwealth Department of Defence. The trade controls affect collaborations, and material transfers, with parties outside Australia when the subject matter is regulated by the Defence Strategic Goods List. Trade Controls are regulated by the Department of Defence.

There is more information about Defence Trade Controls (DTC) on the DTC page.

UWA support for Sanctions Assessment

Reviewing and, where needed, obtaining relevant permissions from the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) can ensure you can legally work with international staff and students. Contact the Research Integrity section of the Office of Research for local support with Sanctions:

Email: [email protected]
UWA sanctions assessment form
Form for Sanctions Assessment

This topic receives occasional updates. Please subscribe to the mailing list Research-Announcements for news of changes.