At a time when the diffusion of knowledge into society and the utilisation of science by industry is as high as ever, some types of research may undergo restrictions on the basis of ethical principles and security imperatives. The role of this doctoral study is to clarify the legal obligations originating from export control laws and affecting research activities and, explore the level of awareness of proliferation risks within the scientific community. National law provisions and especially international law would normally reflect and codify long-lasting ethical principles and patterns that guarantee the smooth functioning of societies. The study by no means intends to stigmatise specific areas of research and direct a purely ethical discussion on what should be considered as moral or not when conducting research. Instead, its main purpose is to identify the implications of export controls of dual-use items and technologies for legitimate research and equip researchers and research organisations with a strategy to cope with the challenges being inherent to the combat against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).