Frequently Asked Questions

I’m interested in forming or renewing an international partnership. Do I need to follow the international partnership process? 

This process should be followed for all situations where an MOU or legal agreement with an international partner is necessary. Faculty who are interested in initiating formal collaborative activities with an international partner should follow this process. Examples of such activities include, but are not limited to: joint educational and research activities, exchanges of faculty members, scholars or students, exchanges of academic materials, short-term academic programs, and more. Faculty working directly with a third party to conduct research outside of the United States may be exempt from this process. 

Why is it important for me to follow the process? 

This process is designed to help you create or renew an international MOU or legal agreement as efficiently as possible while ensuring that any potential risks to you or Duke are mitigated. International MOUs and legal agreements often require input from a variety of stakeholders across campus, including the Office of Counsel, Global Administrative Support, Global Education Office, Office of Export Controls, Visa Services, Human Resources, and school, departmental and program administrators. OGA will use the information you provide through this process to coordinate with all relevant stakeholders and determine appropriate next steps in forming or renewing the partnership MOU or legal agreement. 

My partner at an international institution wants to collaborate with me and has sent me an MOU for review. What steps should I take? 

OGA prefers using our Duke-approved MOU template, but we can work with you and your partner to meet your needs. Please contact OGA with a copy of the draft MOU and articulate your goals for the partnership. We’ll review your submission and respond with appropriate next steps as quickly as possible. 

I would like to begin collaborating with a partner as soon as possible. How long will this process take? 

The length of the international partnership process depends on a variety of factors, including the complexity of the MOU(s) or legal agreement(s) needed to support your partnership and the internal procedures of the partner institution. You should begin this process several months before you plan to implement any partnership activities. Using the Duke-approved MOU template will significantly reduce the time needed for this process. Average partnership development time-frames are as follows:

  • Duke-approved MOU template: 1-4 weeks
  • Other legal agreements: 2-6 months

My international partner and I want to sign a simple MOU. Do we need OGA approval? 

Yes. Documents titled “Memorandum of Understanding” can and do often include legally-binding elements. Unknowingly entering Duke into a legally-binding agreement can result in serious long-term consequences. It is vital that you send all MOUs to OGA for review before signing.  

How long should an MOU or legal agreement last? 

This depends on the purpose and content of the MOU or legal agreement, as well as Duke’s prior relationship with the partner institution. Most agreements last 3-5 years, with an option for renewal at the end of the agreement term.  

Who should sign an MOU or legal agreement? 

This will depend on the scope of the partnership, the specific activities implemented and the partner institution’s policies. OGA will work with you to determine the appropriate signatories for your MOU or legal agreement. 

Please contact our office if you have any other questions. We’re here to help!