The U-M supports a broad range of global activities – from individual research collaborations and scholarly visits among faculty members to larger platforms for student programs and joint research projects or laboratories. Many of these activities can flourish without written agreements. But in some cases, a written agreement may be needed. These resources will guide you in determining when a written agreement is needed and walk you through the process of drafting/legal review/approval/U-M signature. Additional questions can be addressed to the Provost’s Office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What is an international agreement?
- Types of Agreements
- Guidelines for proposing an academic/educational agreement
What is an international agreement?
An international agreement is a document that defines the terms of cooperation between the University of Michigan and another institution or organization.
The Board of Regents is the legal governing body for the University and has delegated official signature authority for international agreements to the Provost’s Office, the Office of Research, and Procurement Services, depending on the type and scope of the agreement. Please note that agreement documents signed by individual U-M employees who do not have official signature authority for the Regents are not valid.
Types of Agreements
The Provost’s Office holds U-M signature authority for academic cooperation and educational program agreements with international institutions. Activities under the purview of the Provost’s Office include:
- Affiliation agreements for student field placements
- Education/study abroad programs for U-M students
- Tuition-based student exchanges
- Programs for incoming international students that provide short-term study, internships or research experience
- Joint academic programs
- Structured programs for visiting scholars that involve U-M employment, clinical care or research
- General Memoranda of Understanding for academic collaboration
For U-M purposes, a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) is a general, non-legally binding document that is used as a first step between U-M and a foreign institution at the initial stage of establishing their collaborative relationship—the institutions want or need to formalize and document the relationship, but are not yet ready to undertake any specific programs/projects/activities. An MOU basically states that the institutions want to work together and will cooperate to develop various specific programs/projects/activities in the future.
The U-M Office of Research (UMOR) holds signature authority for activities that involve sponsored research projects, external funding, or specific research deliverables. View UMOR sponsored project agreement guidelines and unfunded agreement types. Examples of UMOR agreement activities include:
- Sponsored research, external funding agencies
- Data use agreements
- Material transfer agreements
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Facility access agreements
- Teaming agreements
- Unfunded agreements on a specific research topic or project between individual faculty members or teams of investigators
- Vehicle and equipment loan agreements
- Visiting researcher agreements
Procurement Services holds signature authority for contracts and invoices associated with all U-M purchases from outside vendors. View guidelines for the procurement of education abroad goods and services. Examples of international procurement items include:
- Accommodation/facilities rental at international sites (e.g. student housing)
- Vehicle/driving contracts
- Contracts with third party education abroad providers for U-M student programs
- Invoices from partner institutions for student programs and services
- Consulting contracts for individuals providing on-site program support or instruction
Guidelines for Proposing International Agreements for Academic Cooperation and Educational Programs
Any U-M faculty or staff member may submit a proposal for an international agreement for academic cooperation or educational programs. Ideally, proposals will be made in consultation with the unit-level international office and/or the Provost’s Office Global Engagement Team to determine:
- The value propositions to the U-M and international institution
- Alignment of the proposed agreement with U-M and/or unit-level strategic goals for global engagement
- Potential for institutional support (financial/educational) for the proposed activities
- The scope and scale of U-M student and faculty interest in the proposed activities
- Whether a formal agreement and associated legal review are needed for the proposed cooperation
- Appropriate signing authority for the proposed agreement (Provost’s Office, UMOR or Procurement Services)
These guidelines apply to international agreements for academic cooperation and educational programs, e.g. affiliation, memoranda of understanding, memoranda of agreement, non-binding agreements and any amendments or addenda to such documents. Agreements for international sponsored research and data use should follow UMOR procedures for sponsored projects or unfunded agreements. Contracts/invoices for international programs should follow procurement procedures.
All Ann Arbor campus academic/educational agreements are signed by the Vice Provost for Global Engagement and Interdisciplinary Academic Affairs on behalf of the Provost and the Board of Regents. Flint and Dearborn agreements should be signed by the appropriate Chancellor or authorized delegate.
- Allow for processing time of at least eight weeks, including legal review, revisions and final approval. Processing time will be shorter for proposals that follow U-M templates.
- Utilize standard U-M templates to facilitate faster review and signature:
- Prepare all documents (e.g. agreements, amendments, addenda and attachments) in Word format (.doc or .docx) and in English (additional copies in other languages are permissible).
- Complete the Proposal for International Agreement Form to provide additional context and activity details for the Provost’s Office. This form is for internal purposes only and will not be a recorded as part of the formal agreement.
- Inform appropriate deans and/or department heads of the proposed agreement and any unit-level resources that may be required to support the proposed activities.
- Share the draft agreement document(s) with the international institution. If either the international institution or sponsoring U-M unit requires any revisions to the content or legal language of the U-M template, please utilize track changes to record any revisions. If using a template from the international institution, also utilize track changes for any revisions.
- Send the Proposal for International Agreement Form and draft agreement to the Provost’s Office c/o email@example.com.
- The Provost’s Office will screen all proposals for export control issues and refer to the U-M export controls officer if needed.
- If the draft agreement follows a U-M template with no deviations, the Global Engagement Team will review the proposal, request signature and return the signed version to the sponsoring U-M unit.
- If the draft agreement does not follow a U-M template, contains edits from the international institution or sponsoring U-M unit, or is the international institution’s template, the review team will route it to the Office of General Counsel (OGC) for legal review. OGC will contact the sponsoring U-M unit with questions, concerns or revisions. The sponsoring U-M unit must send the OGC-edited document(s) to the international institution for review. When both parties come to agreement, the sponsoring U-M unit must send final copies of the document(s) to OGC for processing and Vice Provost’s signature.
- Obtain corresponding signature(s) from the partner institution and return a copy of the final, signed version to the Provost’s Office for U-M records.
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