Guidelines and Forms for Partnering with International Institutions

In an increasingly interconnected world, the University of California, Davis, and Global Affairs recognize the value of international, collaborative research, teaching, exchange, and service. As such, we actively engage in partnering with universities, research institutions, NGOs, and government agencies worldwide in order to facilitate a variety of intellectual interactions and exchanges. 

UC Davis currently has over 150 active Agreements of Cooperation and Memoranda of Understanding with international partner institutions across more than 45 countries. Most of these agreements are at the initiative of faculty members.

To search for current international agreements, by country, institution, department, college or school, visit our Global Affairs Agreements of Cooperation Database.

International Agreement Proposal and Approval Process

This procedure is designed for faculty members interested in embarking on a collaboration with an international university partner, which does not involve the commitment of university funds or binding contract provisions for purposes of protecting or utilizing intellectual property. It is applicable to the creation or renewal of Agreements of Cooperation (AOCs) and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs).

Global Affairs intends for this procedure to simplify the process and decrease the time involved for faculty sponsors of proposed international partnerships to go from concept to completion. The International Agreement Proposal Form (.pdf) collects all the information needed for Global Affairs to process such an agreement, and this procedure provides a step by step process for interested faculty.

International Agreement Proposal and Approval Process

graphic of five steps shown below in list

  • Step 1
  • Contact Global Affairs at to determine if there are already existing agreements with the proposed international partner(s).

    Discuss the initiative with your Department Chair, Dean, and international/global programs office to learn about any applicable internal departmental, college, and/or school policies for international collaborations and confirm departmental/college/school support for the initiative.
  • Step 2
  • Submit the draft agreement proposal form to Global Affairs at using the International Agreement Proposal Form.

    Include as attachments any information that will be helpful to the reviewer, such as draft agreements or documents provided to you by the proposed international partner. Please note that we strongly encourage the use of the UC Davis agreement templates only. Using alternate formats will significantly increase the amount of time required to conclude the agreement.Incomplete agreement proposals will be returned to the agreement sponsor for completion.

    Global Affairs will respond within 10 business days. Some forms of agreements have additional requirements and may require input from various campus stakeholders as part of the approval process. In these cases, Global Affairs will provide additional instructions to the agreement sponsor.
  • Step 3
  • Global Affairs reviews the draft agreement, coordinates agreement content with relevant stakeholders (if necessary), and returns a draft agreement to the UC Davis agreement sponsor using a UC Davis agreement template approved by the Office of the Campus Counsel.

    The UC Davis agreement sponsor may now share the draft agreement with the collaborating institution, which may propose edits. If the proposed edits are not acceptable a negotiation of the relevant terms will occur.

    Changes to the UC Davis agreement templates should be clearly marked in the draft agreement and must be approved by Global Affairs, in coordination with Office of the Campus Counsel as needed, before signing.

    It is strongly encouraged that English be the controlling language for all International Agreements. When English is not the controlling language, a certified translation and back-translation of the International Agreement shall be completed. The initiator of the agreement is responsible for procuring the translation and the costs associated with it.
  • Step 4
  • Following approval of the draft, the institutional authorities named in the agreement print and sign the agreement. Scanned copies of original signatures in PDF or Word document files may be considered originals so long as all signatures appear on a single document, or the partner institution requests otherwise.

    One copy of the fully executed agreement remains with the partner institution; one copy is retained by the UC Davis sponsoring department for its records.
  • Step 5
  • The agreement sponsor will send a scanned copy of the fully executed agreement via email to Global Affairs at Global Affairs will add the document to the central agreements database.

Types of International Agreements Subject to this Procedure

Agreement of Cooperation

Agreements of Cooperation (AOCs) refer to general, non-binding agreements for the university to collaborate or cooperate. The UC Davis AOC is a legally non-binding agreement intended to be supplemented with further agreements in the form of additional MOUs (see below) regarding specific collaborations.

At UC Davis, the Chancellor and the Vice Provost and Dean of Global Affairs both have delegated authority to enter into Agreements of Cooperation. See the full the International Agreement Proposal and Approval Process (.pdf) for more information.

Memorandum of Understanding

Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), or other appropriate further agreements, are general statements of mutual interest to explore opportunities for collaboration and outline the specifics, logistics or details of a particular effort. The UC Davis MOU template agreement is explicitly non-binding, meaning that it does not commit university funds, staff, facilities, or other resources.

At UC Davis, MOUs are typically among a college, school, department, center, or unit and the international partner and most often set forth general plans for collaboration. Global Affairs will determine the appropriate institutional authority to sign the MOU based on the content and the scope of the intended activity.

Other Legally-Binding Agreements

There is a limited set of legally binding international agreements that are subject to this procedure. See the full the International Agreement Proposal and Approval Process (.pdf) for more information.

Other UC Davis Contracting Offices

  • Sponsored Programs Office
  • InnovationAccess
  • Health System Contracts
  • Business & Revenue Contracts
See the full the International Agreement Proposal and Approval Process (.pdf) for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Why must this approval process be followed?
  • International agreements can be complex and often require multiple stakeholders to provide necessary expertise and input. Global Affairs will triage the agreements and route the agreements to the necessary stakeholders for their input. Additionally, input from the Office of the Campus Counsel, Office of Research, and Global Affairs is required for all international agreements provided to the Chancellor for signature.
  • How long will the agreement negotiation and approval process take?
  • The time required to conclude an agreement depends on its complexity, whether or not UC Davis templates are used, and the number and significance of changes proposed by the partner institution. In general, the average turnaround time for agreements is:

    UC Davis templates are used with minimal changes to terms: 2-4 weeks

    Other templates are used or significant changes proposed: 6-20 weeks

  • What if the collaborating institution wants to use its template instead of the UC Davis template?
  • UC Davis strongly encourages use of its templates for all international agreements. Alternative templates may be proposed, but may or may not be acceptable without significant revision. All non-UC Davis templates must be closely reviewed, commented on, and approved by the Office of the Campus Counsel and other campus stakeholders. This can result in significant delays.

  • Can a MOU be binding?
  • Yes. Although the UC Davis MOU template is explicitly non-binding, other MOUs can and often do include binding language which might unknowingly obligate UC Davis and lead to unintended consequences. For this reason, it is imperative that all MOUs receive GA approval prior to signing.

  • Who is eligible to submit a partnership agreement proposal to GA through this process?
  • Agreement proposals can be submitted by any UC Davis faculty, departmental administrator, or Center/Institute Director, with the support of their Chair, Dean, Vice Chancellor, or Vice Provost.

  • How long are agreements valid?
  • Depending on the agreement type and whether it is a new partnership or extension of an existing partnership, most agreements are valid for 3-5 years. Each agreement should explicitly state how long it is intended to last.

  • What is the process for renewing or terminating a partnership?
  • To renew a partnership, complete the agreement proposal form and submit to Global Affairs. The renewal proposal process is the same as that for new agreements. If the partnership has worked well and the terms of the original agreement remain current with limited or no revisions required, the timeline for approval is fairly short.

    Each agreement has a termination clause which specifies the process and notification requirements for termination. If there is a decision to terminate an active agreement prior to its natural expiration, contact Global Affairs for guidance at

  • What if there is a dispute about the terms of agreement?
  • If there is a dispute about the terms agreement or a breach of contract, contact the Office of the Campus Counsel to discuss options for recourse.

More Information

  • All proposed Agreements of Cooperation must utilize the standard UC Davis Agreement of Cooperation Form.
  • For each Agreement of Cooperation, an active UC Davis faculty member and a partner institution faculty member will be identified as the primary contacts.
  • Every two years, on February 1, the UC Davis primary contact shall provide Global Affairs with a brief report summarizing activity for the previous two years and plans for the remaining two years.

Documents, Templates, and Forms

To search for current international agreements, by country, institution, department, college or school, visit our Global Affairs Agreements of Cooperation Database.

Contact Information

If you have questions about international partnerships and agreements, please contact Michael Lazzara, associate vice provost for academic programs in Global Affairs, at or (530) 754-9707, or Marianne McClelland, international agreements manager, in Global Affairs at or (530) 752-8175.