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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Policy Contacts

Matthew Fox, J.D.
Senior Research Compliance Officer, OVPR

What is Essential:

The Harvard University Policy on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles requires all operators to comply with regulations and guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration and prohibits flights over or within University property by third parties unaffiliated with the University.


How to Comply:

Compliance steps are laid out in the Policy on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.


Why it’s Important:

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles on campus presents unique risks to the safety and privacy of members of the Harvard community. From a legal perspective, although drones are widely used for recreation, the FAA has imposed licensure requirements, among others, for any use that is not purely recreational, and Harvard’s proximity to Logan airport creates a requirement that some flights receive pre-approval from air-traffic control.


The Policy on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles is overseen by a university-wide UAV Committee.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Committee provides advice and oversight regarding all aspects of UAV operation at the University. This includes the development and implementation of the university’s UAV policy as well as providing guidance to members of the Harvard community wishing to operate UAVs in their professional capacity. The Committee is composed of a diverse group of researchers and subject matter experts in the use of UAVs and the laws and regulations governing them.

The registration form referred to in the UAV Policy is under development. If you are planning a UAV operation on or over Harvard property, please email

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