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Developing an International Collaboration

Tulane supports high-quality international collaborations, and thus encourages international academic agreements and MOUs which enable faculty, departments, academic units and schools to explore possible collaboration with peer universities.

Planning to develop a research or exchange agreement with an international partner institution?

As a first step, international academic agreements or MOUs must first be discussed with and given preliminary approval by the relevant Dean of the school or unit leader, as well as the Associate Provost for International Affairs, to proceed with developing a draft agreement. The final agreement will be signed by the Provost or Associate Provost for International Affairs.

Learn more about Tulane's support and process for international agreements by downloading the academic agreement guidelines. After reviewing the guidelines and gathering key information, complete the online proposal form.


4 Steps for Developing an International Academic Collaboration

Step 1
Confirm Preliminary Institutional Support
  • Obtain preliminary support from relevant Dean or unit leader for contemplated arrangement.
  • Consult with Tulane Global to ask questions, check for existing MOUs or legal agreements with collaborator, and confirm vetting and approval process.


Step 2
Submit a Proposal


Step 3
Draft an Agreement
  • Tulane Global will review the submitted proposal form and liaise with appropriate offices.
  • If we determine that the arrangement requires a non-binding MOU, then Tulane Global will provide you with an MOU template.
  • If your arrangement contains legally binding terms and conditions, then we will work with you and the Office of General Counsel (OGC) to formalize an agreement.


Step 4
Send to Collaborator for Review and Sign Approved Document
  • Once a draft has been internally approved, representatives from Tulane and the collaborating institution will finalize negotiations and sign the document.
  • Tulane's Provost's Office signs all academic MOUs and agreements (unless it indicates otherwise). A copy of the fully-executed document will be retained by the Provost's Office and the relevant Tulane school/unit.


Best Practices

Successful international academic collaboration requires intentional planning and a sustained commitment. To ensure the long-term success of your collaboration, please consider the best practices outlined below:

Know your Collaborator(s)

Ensure that you know and trust the person or organization whom you’ll be working with. Academic collaborations depend on strong individual relationships.

Start Early

Developing strong collaborations takes time. While simple MOUs can be processed quickly, complex legal agreements may take months to complete, depending on a variety of factors. Allow ample time for agreements to be executed before initiating joint activities.

Questions to Consider
  • What is the purpose of the collaboration?
  • Who is the proposed partner?
  • What do you know about their institution?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • How does this collaboration further the mission of your department/center, school/college, and/or TU?
  • How do you see the relationship developing over the first year and into later years (as relevant)?
  • What administrative burdens of the relationship do you anticipate, especially financial?
  • How are you planning to meet these expenses?
  • By what metrics will you judge a productive relationship?
  • Is a formal agreement needed? Why?
  • What is the proposed duration of the agreement?
  • Any other relevant information?
Confirm Institutional Commitment and Internal Support

The strongest collaborations have broad institutional support and clear goals. Confirm support in your unit, department or college and consider involving other units on campus. Ensure that your collaborating institution is equally committed.

Set Clear Expectations

Explicitly discuss your aspirations and expectations with your collaborating institution. When expectations are misaligned, communication can break down quickly.

Assess Institutional Fit

Academic collaborations are most successful when partners have strong reputations, compatible missions and complementary academic strength.