Research Collaboration and Faculty/Scholar Exchange

The development of international research partnerships is typically a longer-term commitment that requires sustained dedication to areas of mutual interest for collaboration. It often involves the exchange of faculty and scholars throughout the duration of the partnership. These exchange visits can be short-term or long-term and provide an opportunity for collaborative engagement. The International Faculty and Scholars team at Arizona International assists with inbound visiting scholars.

The University of Arizona (UA) collaborates with international institutions to engage in innovative research development and scholarly exchange. These partnerships are of mutual benefit and can involve university partners, government agencies, industry, and nonprofit organizations. Our global research partnerships play an important role in advancing the UA as a highly-engaged, global university.

As a UA faculty member, if you are interested in formalizing a research partnership, please check our International Partnerships Database to see if we have an existing relationship with your proposed partner. If not, please fill out this proposal form so the International Affairs team can meet with you to discuss the potential partnership and next steps.

1) What types of agreements does the UA use to formalize research collaboration and faculty/scholar exchange?

The UA uses an International Memorandum of Agreement (IMOA) or a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

An IMOA is a binding, legal contract formalizing the terms of collaboration between the UA and one or more partner institutions. It must follow a specific format as required by the Arizona Board of Regents and the State of Arizona. It requires specific signature authority to fulfill the obligations and commitments within the document. The UA’s legal contracting entity is the Arizona Board of Regents. All IMOAs must state that the agreement is between "The Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona" and the partner institution.

An MOU outlines the intent to collaborate on a specific program in the future. They are signed at the college-level by the Dean of the respective college involved.

2) When is it appropriate to draft an IMOA?

An IMOA should outline a constructive new venture that reflects an institutional priority of the UA and the partner institution. This may include –but is not limited to – research collaboration, faculty/scholar exchange, and/or inviting international undergraduate interns to campus.

Once both institutions have agreed upon specific collaborative activities that call upon the expertise or resources of either or both partners, an IMOA is required. An IMOA may also assist institutions in accessing governmental or other funding sources.

3) How do I find out if an IMOA already exists with a particular institution?

Please check the International Partnerships Database.

4) What if the partner institution has already presented me with an IMOA for signature?

Occasionally, an institution may initiate the formalization of the collaboration by sending either a draft IMOA or a version signed by its President or the equivalent. In either case, you should first review the agreement to be sure it includes concise descriptions of collaborative activities. After you review the agreement, please forward it to the International Partnerships team at Arizona International at for review. It is sometimes possible to add an addendum if some of the necessary legal language is missing. If the agreement needs to be redrafted completely, the International Partnerships team will work with you to draft a new agreement in a timely manner.

5) What if the partner institution has different legal requirements for drafting an IMOA?

There is usually not a problem including the necessary language for both institutions and their legal representatives. If problems arise, they will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

6) How much financial detail should be provided in the IMOA?

Any financial obligations – including tuition support benefits, teaching or research assistantships, travel expenses, housing, medical insurance coverage, or maintenance allowances – must be specifically stated in the IMOA. If no such commitments are intended, a general provision should make this clear.

In particular, medical insurance coverage, and/or responsibility for providing coverage, is the responsibility of the individual participants or their home institutions. If medical insurance coverage and/or responsibility is being offered to or received from an international institution, this must be clearly stated in the IMOA. This is especially important in light of medical insurance requirements connected with the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

7) Who is responsible for administering the initiatives outlined in the IMOA?

For research collaboration and faculty/scholar exchange, the academic unit at each institution is responsible for the implementation and management of the IMOA and this unit must be identified in the agreement.

8) For what period will the agreement remain valid?

All agreements should have a fixed period of validity. Typically, UA agreements are valid for a period of five years. The agreement will state that it will be reviewed at the end date to determine whether it will be renewed. The International Partnerships team will monitor the expiration of all IMOAs and will remind individual academic units four to six months prior to the expiration of their individual agreements.

9) Should there be a foreign language version of the agreement?

UA units should be sensitive to providing an opportunity for the other institution to produce a translation of the agreement, which should be equivalent to the English language version. It is the responsibility of the initiating academic/administrative unit to provide appropriate translations of draft agreements.