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International Contracting

As of June 24, 2019, the International MOA Registry and process have changed.

Types of International Agreements

Global Operations oversees the University's contracting procedures for several types of international agreements, including:

International institutional collaborations:

  • Memorialized by: Memoranda of Agreement, Project Agreements, Letters of Intent, Letter Agreements, Memoranda of Understanding, or any similar agreement regardless of title
  • Includes providing grants (from internal funding sources) to international collaborators or community stakeholders
  • Learn more about these types of agreements

International revenue-generating activities: 

  • Those funded by a foreign entity or when Cornell conducts work out of the U.S.
  • Executive education, training, etc. (revenue-generating activities that fall outside sponsored research)
  • Non-degree program tuition or service revenue
  • Other review-generating activities
  • Memorialized by: Master Services Agreements, Statements of Work, Educational Services Agreements, or any similar agreement regardless of title
  • Learn more about Cornell's policy on Reporting Foreign Gifts and Contracts
  • Please consult OSP if you are not sure if the contemplated project would be considered sponsored.

International independent contractors: 

  • Individual or non-corporate entity that resides outside of the United States, and provides personal services to Cornell, while retaining control over the means and methods of accomplishing the result.

The agreements outlined above must be initiated through one of your operating unit’s designated contract administrators, and then executed by the designated signatory, which varies by type of contract and unit.

What's not in Global Operations' scope?

  • Purchasing (e.g., when units purchase services or products from a company registered outside the U.S.)

  • Sponsored research projects, including sub-awards

  • Tuition for traditional degree programs

  • Investment activity

  • Technology licensing

  • Gifts and/or sponsorship processed through the Division of Alumni Affairs and Development

Getting Started

  1. As the initiator, ensure that all relevant parties in your college/unit are aware of and support the collaboration being proposed with the international entity. 
  2. Contact your unit's contract administrator at the earliest stage possible.
  3. Allow the team ample time to evaluate your agreement from a variety of perspectives. Complex contracts may take extra time, particularly if they require outside advisory support. Your unit's contract administrator will return the contract to you with input or comments, as needed.
  4. Negotiate with your collaborator to ensure both parties agree to terms. If there is a dispute and proposed terms are questioned. It is common for some back and forth at this stage of contracting.
  5. Once both parties have agreed to terms the document will be ready to be signed.
  6. According to Cornell Transaction Policy 4.2, only certain individuals have been granted transaction authority for the university’s international agreements, including university counsel, the provost, and the vice provost for international affairs. Additionally, delegation plans have been completed to extend this authority to deans of colleges/schools and authorized approvers for university-level units. Only these individuals may sign international agreements for your unit, college or school.

Special Note:

If your project is related to sponsored research, please contact the Office Sponsored Programs at or (607) 255-5014. A grant and contract officer will help you navigate the paperwork to accept funds at Cornell.