Support for and approval of international research collaborations and partnerships

Researchers and departments pursue international research collaborations and partnerships in many different forms. Many are informal or peer to peer academic collaborations. Some will involve exchange of funding between the parties or otherwise require a formalised contractual arrangement. Matters relating to regulatory compliance, legal requirements, and ethical, reputational or security-related issues may be relevant.

Support, advice and (where appropriate) approval from relevant professional services should be sought. This may involve referral where necessary to University governance structures (such as the Committee to Review Donations & Research Funding).

In the case of major new partnerships, there may be issues of naming or branding, establishment of bespoke legal structures (such as joint ventures), or establishing permanent facilities overseas.  Some of these issues may require consideration through divisional (e.g. Divisional Boards) or University (e.g. General Purposes Committee/Council) governance structures.

Sources of support and approval are summarised below:

  1. Advice on the establishment of international research partnerships should be sought from Research Services. In this context, Research Services is responsible for:
    1. Submission of research funding applications and acceptance of research awards
    2. Negotiation of all research-related agreements
    3. Consideration of export control requirements and other matters relating to international collaboration risks.
  2. Other professional services provide support in connection with specific issues that may be present in connection with the proposed international research partnership. This includes:
    1. Development Office for funding in the form of philanthropy and gifts
    2. Finance Division in connection with financial management, foreign currency, financial sanctions, insurance, and tax
    3. Personnel Services in relation to overseas working, immigration, employment law, and health and safety
    4. Assurance Directorate in relation to information compliance, data transfer, and information and cybersecurity
    5. Legal Services in connection with proposed legal structures and use of the University’s name and brand

3. The acceptability of any funding supporting the proposed international research partnership (whether in the form of a donation or research funding) will be subject to the procedures of the Committee to Review Donations and Research Funding, with escalation for review and approval by the Committee as required.

4. In the case of new major partnerships, including where it is proposed they span departments, establish permanent or semi-permanent facilities overseas, or involve creating a centre or institute that will bear the University’s name, should be referred to divisions, for consideration and review within divisional structures (e.g. Divisional Boards). Where an initiative spans divisions, divisions should consult the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research). An evaluation scorecard has been produced to support this review.

5. Advice in relation to security issues may be sought from the Security in International Collaboration Group (contact Governance Team), an advisory group to the General Purposes Committee of Council. 

6. All proposals that involve the formation of a new legal entity (e.g. a joint venture), the creation of new permanent or semi-permanent facilities overseas, or raise other significant financial or reputational issues should be referred for review and approval by General Purposes Committee of Council (or onwards to Council as required).