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Need to talk to someone about your international MoU and collaboration agreement questions? The MoU process is supported by the Center for Global Engagement. Contact us at email@example.com.
What is an MoU?
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a statement of cooperation by which UMB and another entity outline the establishment of a relationship that may result in future collaborative activities, such as student and faculty exchanges, joint conferences, and/or research projects.
An MoU does not create a legally binding commitment of UMB Funds. Any commitment of UMB Funds requires a procurement agreement, subaward agreement, or similar contractual instrument. The MoU may serve as the first step in developing future agreements which are developed through a different process.
When is an MoU appropriate?
UMB encourages international collaborations with other entities, and these often entail entering into an MoU to establish the general framework for the relationship. Often an international collaborator will request an MoU as the first step to a relationship, and the Center for Global Engagement can help you work with your partner to create an MoU.
What is the process to start an MoU?
Any UMB community member interested in pursuing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an international entity should consult with the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) before negotiating the agreement to check whether a prior MoU exists with the same or related entity and for guidance on the MoU process and support in the form of MoU templates/examples and other resources. The Initiator should complete, sign, and submit the UMB MoU Request Form. CGE will respond to Initiator with the next steps and/or request additional information.
Who can sign an MoU? (Not you!)
The President of the University (or designee) holds the sole authority for signing an MoU.
The UMB Partnership and Collaboration Guiding Principles Checklist emerged from internationalization reports from each of the seven UMB schools. It is a reflection of best practices and a resource to guide program development that can be used in tandem with the UMB Considerations for Successful and Sustainable International Partnerships. Not every global program can – or is intended to – fit all the criteria outlined.
Types of Agreements for International Relationships
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – A framework document that is used to outline the terms of a cooperation or collaboration without committing to specific activities. It is also known as a Memorandum of Agreement or a Letter of Intent.
Affiliation Agreement – An agreement between UMB (or one or more UMB schools, institutes, and centers) and another entity that is not a university, for the purpose of faculty and/or student exchanges, service activities, externships, training workshops, and similar activities.
Exchange Agreement – An agreement between UMB (or one or more UMB schools, institutes, and centers) and another university, for the purpose of faculty and/or student exchanges.
A high-level MoU is what international partners often initially ask for, and the general MoU is appropriate for general, non-specific promises to collaborate in the future. Here is an example:
If the purpose of the collaboration is for student exchange, ask for help with an Exchange Agreement.
If you plan to work with a non-university organization such as a third-party education abroad organization or NGO, ask for help with an Affiliation Agreement.
Following are the steps for developing an international MoU and obtaining the required institutional review, approval, and signature.
Step 1: Any UMB community member interested in pursuing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an international entity should consult with the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) prior to negotiating the agreement to check whether a prior MOU exists with the same or related entity and for guidance on the MoU process and support in the form of MoU templates/examples and other resources.
Step 2: The Initiator should complete, sign, and submit the UMB MoU Request Form to CGE. CGE will respond to Initiator with the next steps and/or request additional information.
Step 3: CGE will share the completed UMB MoU Request Form with UMB’s Export Officer, who will review the request giving consideration to country sanctions, restricted/prohibited parties, and other potential export concerns.
Step 4: CGE routes the MoU Request Form for required approvals.
Step 5: If the international partner has not provided its own MOU or agreement language for review, CGE will provide the appropriate UMB-approved template(s) to the Initiator to develop and draft the MOU or agreement. Note: Changes to the UMB agreement templates should be clearly marked in the draft agreement and must be approved by UMB University Counsel before signing.
Step 6: After the Initiator submits the draft MoU to CGE, CGE will transmit the MOU Request Form and draft MoU/agreement to University Counsel for legal review.
Step 7: CGE routes finalized MoU or agreement to the UMB President or designee for signature. CGE will maintain a copy and add the MOU to the Global Hub.
Although not necessary, signing an MoU can be a collaborative and ceremonial event with leaders from two institutions signing the document at the same time together or virtually. The leaders and program directors often share brief comments about the importance of the MoU and hopes for future collaboration. See an example here of a UMB MoU signing with the University of Costa Rica.