FAQ - International Agreements

NOTE: These policies are currently under review and may no longer be up to date (May 2018).

Formal Agreement

Why is a formal agreement required? These agreements are between UCSF and another institution on your behalf. They protect you and your rights, define roles and responsibilities, and build a foundation for sustainable collaborations.

Created agreement

Can I create my own agreement? No. All agreements in this guide require some level of university approval. The nature of an agreement may differ depending on individual cases. This guide contains UCSF-approved agreements and templates are provided to help you in the process.

(MOU) sample

Why is an international memorandum of understanding (MoU) not listed in this guide? UCSF has a number of different types of agreements that are initiated with outside organizations. In most cases, the initial document that is used as the basis for further discussions is a Letter of Intent to Collaborate (LOIC). It is used to define the general purpose for a collaboration and serves as the basis for defining specific responsibilities of UCSF, its faculty, and staff as well as those of the external entity. In general UCSF does not approve international MOUs since they have different definitions and expectations. As a result, the terms and conditions that have been included in MOUs with outside entities have been inconsistent and, in some cases have included requirements that UCSF faculty cannot fulfill. For most purposes, we have replaced the MOU with the Letter of Intent to Collaborate. In rare instances UCSF will approve a legally binding MOU created by an outside entity (e.g. foundations, non-profit organizations) only after it has been reviewed and approved by the Office of Legal Affairs, particularly for international agreements.

Co-signed agreements

My international partners use their own agreements. Can I sign their agreements? Should I ask them to sign a UCSF agreement also? Individual faculty and staff do not have the authority to sign agreements on behalf of UCSF. You can work with the outside organization to define some of the terms and conditions for an agreement, but it should be reviewed by campus counsel prior to finalizing the agreement. Contact Greta Schnetzler in the Office of Legal Affairs for guidance on processing your partner's agreement.


Who is responsible at UCSF for reviewing and approving international agreements? All agreements should be reviewed by the department chair or ORU director. Refer to the International Agreements Matrix for specific information on reviews and approvals for each international agreement.

Process time

How long will it take to process an international agreement? This depends on the type of agreement. In order to expedite processing, use the standard templates provided in How to Create an Agreement.

Other UC campuses?

What if my project involves other UC campuses? Contact Greta Schnetzler in the Office of Legal Affairs to coordinate agreements across UC campuses.

Existing partnership(s)

How do I find out if UCSF already has signed an agreement with my international partner(s)? Contracts and Grants is the office of record for these and other University contracts. Global Health Sciences tracks the Institutional Affiliation Agreements, the Office of Graduate Medical Education has the most current information on active Training Affiliation Agreements