Research MOUs

The purpose of an MOU (often called collaboration agreements) is to acknowledge an ongoing and strategic relationship between institutions that is intended to be long term, and/or to support a grant application.  The objective of an international MOU is the development of collaborative research efforts between the UC Davis and a foreign partner(s).

An MOU is:

  • An over-arching and ordinarily non-legally binding document indicating an intention to undertake collaboration with a foreign institution;
  • A writing that describes a very broad concept of mutual understanding, goals, and plans shared by the parties.
  • A general agreement that lists areas of possible joint activities, without creating financial obligations or committing resources.

International MOU Basic Guide – This basic guide is provided for UC Davis faculty and staff planning to seek a new, or renew an existing, international Memorandum of Understanding, including Agreements of Cooperation and Working Agreements, with foreign institutions. The guide was written to assist faculty and staff members in avoiding difficulties often encountered during the international MOU process.

General Non-binding International Research MOU (sample) – Used to establish a broad research relationship with another institution with the goal of exploring and identifying possible research collaborations and the intent to subsequently enter into more specific legally binding funded research agreements.

Specific Non-Binding International Research MOU (sample) – Used when a collaborative research area has already been identified, or narrowed, and both institutions want to document their intent to collaborate in a research area with one another. This is often the first step in the process of developing and subsequently entering into legally binding funded research agreements.

The length of time to draft and finalize an MOU can vary widely, and is affected by the complexity of the project, as well as by how much discussion is needed to reach consensus. Potential complicating factors may include:

  • Multiple participating organizations;
  • Unclear expectations and ambitions for the collaboration;
  • Requests and requirements of the participating organizations that conflict with UC DAVIS policies, practices, or organizational structure;
  • How quickly and fully each participating organization’s representative responds to UC DAVIS’ communications;
  • The level of approval sought for the agreement.

During the development of a research MOU, the International Agreement Specialist may need to consult with multiple UC DAVIS stakeholders. For this reason, the time required for negotiation of some MOUs may vary widely.

Please note, researchers should NOT sign agreements with international organizations or agencies for their research. Such agreements require review by the Office of Research and are signed on behalf of The Regents of the University of California by duly authorized persons only.

Point of Contact: If you have any questions about Research MOU’s or the Int’l MOU Basic Guide, please contact: