Business and Financial Affairs

General Administration

Sec. 700-31: Guidelines for International Academic MOUs and Agreements

Responsible Office: Office of Global Engagement
February 2014

References / Resources

Contact: Office of Global Engagement at (949) 824-9705 or globalengagement@uci.edu

A. Definitions

Foreign entity Any non-U.S. university, institution or government. This includes consolidated "programs" or "initiatives" organized by multiple institutions.
Initiator The employee representing UCI in a collaborative relationship with a foreign entity.
International activity Any activity initiated, sponsored or organized by a UCI employee that involves the exchange of UCI resources with those of a foreign entity or otherwise partnering with a foreign entity in an organized manner.
International Agreement (IA) A formal, written, legally-binding contract approved by designated signatories that clearly defines roles and expectations for an exchange or partnership between UCI and any foreign entity that includes any of the following:
  • a commitment of University Assets and Resources
  • formal exchanges of faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, students
  • research not excluded by policy (Section 700-30)
  • special short term projects.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) A documented collaboration or arrangement with a foreign entity that does not constitute a legally binding contract and does not involve any activities, actions or commitments normally provided for by an IA.
Office of Global Engagement (OGE) The unit with responsibility for coordinating the execution of international agreements that protect and minimize the legal, financial and operational risk and liability for UCI and its faculty, staff and students.
Partner Institution Representative(s) The individual(s) authorized by the foreign entity to enter into a legal contract on behalf of the foreign entity.
Reviewer Anyone asked to review a drafted Memorandum of Understanding or International Agreement.
University Assets and Resources The University's name and seals, campus names and seal and trademarks. The labor, materials, or assets (both monetary and non-monetary) under the control and management of the University including, but not limited to:
  • University funds
  • facilities, office space (whether owned, leased or rented)
  • research materials, tools or databases not used in the performance of research supported by extramural awards
  • library services
  • equipment
  • time or effort of University personnel

B. Responsibilities and Authority

  1. Initiators must follow these Guidelines when initiating and developing international exchanges and partnerships.
    1. No element or activity provided for in an IA or MOU should be implemented prior to the execution of the MOU or IA.
    2. The Initiator is responsible, in consultation with OGE, for the drafting, negotiating, implementation, and administration of their respective MOU or IA. The Initiator oversees all projects, exchanges, and programs for the duration of an agreement.
  2. Reviewers of a drafted MOU or IA are expected to:
    1. Propose language that will protect The Regents with respect to the agreement and the participants in the activity described in the agreement.
    2. Consider the availability of resources needed to fulfill the agreement, including financial, personnel, space, equipment, etc., consistent with the department or unit’s mission.
    3. Recommend elements that should be included in the program sections of the agreement and provide advice on the requirements to implement the program.
  3. Office of Global Engagement (OGE)
    1. OGE drafts and edits documents for approval and serves as the office of record for all signed agreements.
      1. OGE will provide a translation of the MOU or IA upon request by the Partner Institution Representative(s).
      2. OGE will prepare the final MOU or IA and distribute for the required signatures.
      3. Two copies of the MOU or IA in the English language are signed by the required approvers at each institution. One executed original will be sent to the foreign entity and may be accompanied by a copy in another language; the English-language version is the binding agreement.
      4. OGE will keep all signed agreements in a master file and in a database, consistent with the University's record retention policies (see Section 721-10).

    OGE is not responsible for the administration or implementation of MOUs or IAs, nor is it responsible for allocating resources to support agreements.

C. Initiating a Collaboration

  1. Prior to drafting an MOU or IA, the Initiator of a collaboration should contact OGE at globalengagement@uci.edu or (949) 824-9705 for consultation and guidance on completing the International Agreement Planning Form (IAPF). This form is used to describe the proposed collaboration and confirm review of the proposal by administrators authorized to commit resources, if applicable.
  2. The Initiator should work with the Partner Institution Representative(s) to complete the ICPF before sending it to OGE.
  3. The Initiator sends the completed ICPF to OGE.
  4. OGE will vet the proposed partner institution for satisfactory rank and status and make a determination on the appropriateness of the proposed collaboration.
  5. OGE reviews the IAPF to determine whether an MOU or IA should be initiated and which template should be used.
  6. OGE will confer with campus entities (for example, Research Administration, Office of Technology Alliances, or Graduate Division) to ensure the appropriate language is used.

D. Developing the Collaboration

  1. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

    Use of the International MOU is limited to instances of early collaboration conversations.

  2. International Agreement

    OGE will develop an IA based on the information provided on the IAPF. The IA will be uniquely crafted in consultation with various campus units to ensure that expertise is obtained for crafting language that both advances the goals of the collaborators and protects the University from inappropriate risk and liability.

    1. The Initiator will share an initial draft IA with the Partner Institution Representative(s) and discuss changes that may be appropriate and acceptable to all parties.
    2. The Initiator will return the edited draft IA to OGE.
    3. OGE will review any proposed edits and forward to any other reviewers as needed to ensure compliance.
    4. OGEwill prepare the final agreement for signature by the required approvers, with signature parity between UCI and the foreign institution. Additional authorizing signatures may be recommended by OGE.
    5. OGE will forward the final draft to the Partner Institution to obtain the signature of the Partner Institution Representative(s).
    6. The Partner Instituion Representative(s) must return two signed original copies via mail/messenger to OGE.
    7. OGE will forward the two original copies to the authorized UCI official for signature.

E. Terms of an Agreement

  1. General Conditions
    1. All MOUs and IAs must have an Initiator and be executed by OGE prior to implementation of any element of the agreement. OGE may act as the Initiator when the MOU extends campuswide at both institutions.
    2. An IA or MOU and its related protocols are limited to not more than five years.
  2. Language Requirements

    All MOUs and IAs must be in English. Translation to and from the official language of the partner institution, if necessary, is the responsibility of OGE. Although a second-language translation may be made available, the English-language version is the binding agreement.

  3. Approval Requirements
    1. MOU/IA Signatories
      1. When an MOU/IA is between departments or between Schools, Deans are authorized to sign on behalf of UCI for their units. The Vice Chancellor, Office of Research, is authorized to sign on behalf of UCI for Organized Research Units.
      2. When an MOU/IA is between campuses, the Chancellor or a specifically delegated authority must sign on behalf of UCI.
    2. Regents’ approval is required for agreements involving any contractually binding commitment to expend Regents' funds in support of an academic program, or commitments, to programs not previously approved (see Regents’ Standing Order 100.4(dd)(5)).
  4. Modifications and Extensions

    All extensions, amendments and any other modification to an MOU or IA:

    1. Must be in writing and submitted to OGE three months in advance of the agreement’s expiration date.
    2. Will be effective only when signed by the required approvers at both institutions.
  5. Terminations

    Either institution may withdraw from an IA, provided written notification of the withdrawal is given to the collaborating institution at least 90 days prior to the withdrawal date. The termination must not adversely interrupt or impair active participation in a program already in process. A copy of the written notification of withdrawal should be forwarded to the OGE.

F. Collaboration Proposed by a Foreign Entity

Any form of exchange or collaboration proposed by a foreign entity with no prior alliance to a faculty member or academic/administrative official, whether it entails a commitment of University Assets and Resources or not, should be forwarded to the Office of Global Engagement for consideration before any commitment is made to the foreign entity. Potential collaborators should submit a brief proposal letter that can be shared with prospective UCI deans, faculty and administrators. The letter should include:

  • academic or research areas of interest
  • if applicable, the names of faculty and units with whom they would like to collaborate
  • specific goals, objectives and activities of the collaboration
  • any additional information that will facilitate assessing UCI's interest in the proposed collaboration

Upon receipt of a proposal, and before developing either an MOU or an IA, the Office of Global Engagement will contact appropriate deans, faculty and administrators to determine whether there is sufficient mutual interest in collaborating and to identify an appropriate Initiator.