International Affiliations: Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a formal agreement required?
These agreements are between UCSF and another institution on your behalf, in order to define roles and responsibilities and to build a sustainable collaboration. They protect you and your rights, as well as those of UCSF, for issues like intellectual property, insurance, and collaboration disputes.

Can I create my own agreement?
No. All agreements in this guide provide UCSF-vetted language, and all require some level of university leadership approval except the Letter of Intent to Collaborate. The nature of an agreement may differ depending on specific details of the collaboration. These international affiliation webpages contain information about UCSF-approved agreements, and specific steps to help you in the process.

How do I obtain an international agreement?
See more information on these EVCP webpages:

Why do we recommend strongly against an international memorandum of understanding (MoU)?
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. We have replaced the MOU with a specific agreement type, as defined in the International Agreements Matrix. 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.

Can I use my international partner’s own agreement? Should I ask them to sign a UCSF agreement also?
UCSF strongly prefers to use our UCSF template agreements, which contain vetted, equitable language. If your international partner requires that their own agreements be used for the collaboration, these documents must be reviewed by Government and Business Contracts (GBC). These partner agreements can be submitted through DocuSign with the UCSF Checklist. After review and negotiation by GBC and signature by UCSF leadership, this partner’s document will stand as the collaborating agreement.

Can I sign my international partner’s agreement?
Individual faculty and staff do not have the authority to sign international agreements on behalf of UCSF, with the exception of the Letter of Intent to Collaborate, which can be signed by UCSF faculty.

Who is responsible at UCSF for reviewing and approving international agreements?
All agreements should be reviewed by Government and Business Contracts (GBC) and approved by UCSF leadership. See the International Agreements Matrix for specific information on reviews and approvals for each international agreement. Refer to the UCSF International Affiliation Checklist for information on how to obtain an international agreement.

How long will it take to process an international agreement?
This depends on the type of agreement. To expedite processing, follow the steps on the UCSF International Affiliation Checklist.

What if my project involves other UC campuses?
Contact Government and Business Contracts (GBC), which works with the UCSF Office of Legal Affairs to coordinate international agreements across UC campuses.

How do I find out if UCSF already has signed an agreement with my international partner(s)?
UCSF is in the process of simplifying the search process for international affiliations by making new databases available. The EVCP office currently provides regularly updated lists of international collaborations on the UCSF International Affiliations webpage.

Are there other issues I should be concerned about when planning an international collaboration?
An increasing number of international issues may affect the success of a collaboration, such as export control requirements, cyber and electronic device security, as well as crime, violence, and terrorism. For information on these issues, refer to the UCSF International Affiliation Checklist and Quick Links for International Work.