Global collaboration agreements

Washington State University supports international partnerships and collaboration. These collaborations are encouraged, and they create research, teaching, learning, and engagement opportunities that are mutually beneficial to those involved. Global partnership is essential to WSU’s mission to improve the quality of life throughout the state, nation, and world.

Prior to entering into a partnership or collaboration, it is important to ensure that appropriate government regulations and University policies and procedures are followed (please see WSU BPPM), and that export control regulations are met.

This information is intended to provide a brief summary detailing guidance for global partnerships. For additional information, please see International Research Guidelines and Planning, or contact the WSU Office of International Programs (WSU IP).


Initiating international collaboration or agreements

  • Consult with appropriate parties. Prior to engaging in an international partnership or collaboration, please consult with administrators at the department and college levels, and with WSU IP. Keep these parties involved throughout the partnership.
  • Ensure adherence to legal terms and conditions to meet accreditation standards. Please contact WSU IP for further information.
  • Clarify goals and expectations. It is recommended that goals and expectations are communicated prior to initiating an international collaboration or agreement. Different expectations for confidentiality and publishing research may exist depending on academic culture.


  • Many international collaborations will require an agreement of some kind to document the partnership and outline the goals and expectations of the parties. These agreements may take several forms, for example, collaboration agreements, memorandums of agreement or understanding, or international agreements.
  • Agreements entered into on behalf of the University may only be executed by an authorized signatory. For research-related agreements, please contact the Office of Research Support & Operations. All other agreements must be developed through WSU IP and approved by the appropriate WSU offices relevant to the proposed activity (Office of the Provost, Budget Office, Attorney General, Office of Undergraduate Education, Office of Graduate Education, Office of Admissions, etc.).
  • Work with WSU IP or ORSO to draft and sign the agreement. Determine the requirements of the proposed program with clear and complete guidelines to be accomplished during the time period of the agreement. Determine clear understanding of who is responsible for operational components including project management, maintenance of correspondence, allocation of funds, orientation of participants, etc.
  • Determine a budget and identify funding. Please note that agreements involving external financial support may require review and approval by the WSU Office of Research Support and Operations (ORSO). Ensure that resources to support the agreement are available through the department, college, or University prior to entering into an agreement.

Types of agreements:

  • Memoranda of Understanding (MOU): These general, non-binding, statements of mutual interest in exploring collaboration opportunities are used by both the Office of Research and International Programs.
  • Collaboration Agreements: A collaboration agreement is similar to an MOU. It is not used to transfer funding.
  • International Agreements (IA): Formal, binding legal contracts through the Office of International Programs detailing terms and conditions of specific collaboration.

Academic culture differences

Cultural differences may include but are not limited to language, social roles, ‘rules’ of behavior/social norms, and values. Differences in communication styles may also exist and are important to recognize. Awareness of potential differences can help lead to a successful partnership collaboration. Please contact WSU IP regarding questions about differences in academic culture.


International collaborations will often involve travel of WSU personnel to international locations. Please see Considerations for International Travel for more information.