Global Partnerships


Students at Uganda's Makerere University, a Duke partner in biomedical engineering.

Whether you are considering creating an international partnership or looking to expand an existing partnership, our office can help.

When proposing a partnership, you will likely create a memorandum of understanding (MOU). An MOU is like a handshake—it is not a legally binding document, but it represents mutual respect and shared goals.

Contracts and Agreements

We created a template for you to work from to make sure your MOU doesn’t include any legally binding language.

You can customize this template with the activities, people and values central to your specific partnership.

Once you have a draft MOU, whether prepared by you or your partner organization, please send it to Colette Watt. Colette can make sure the agreement keeps you legally secure. She can also help determine the appropriate faculty member or university leader to sign your MOU.

If you have any questions about best practices or growing your partnership, we’re happy to help at any time.

Global Partnerships Database

Duke has nearly 200 partnerships with universities and other organizations around the world.

Explore Duke’s global partnerships database to see existing partnerships.

We hope this information will help you build on existing efforts, join forces with fellow faculty and staff members, and connect with colleagues for guidance and support.

Best Practices

Productive partnerships are:

  • Reciprocal
  • Focused on long-term relationship building
  • Committed to regular communication
  • Willing to resolve differences
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Based on known strengths and values of each partner
  • Built on strong individual relationships
  • Open to developing new projects as the relationship grows