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Resources Available on Campus for International Engagement

Today’s most pressing and important research questions are global ones, and international collaboration is often key to rigorous research and impact. Therefore, to support our growing international portfolio while maintaining compliance and common-sense security measures, the university has expanded its infrastructure in the following ways.

1. Formalizing Institutional Collaborations

Substantial collaborations with foreign universities or institutes (e.g., student or scholarly exchange, or unfunded research collaboration activities) should be formalized by establishing a memorandum of agreement (MOA) and appropriate project agreements. Cornell has more than 300 MOA and Project Agreements on file with universities and institutes around the world. Your needs may already be addressed in an existing and active agreement. Before starting work on a new MOA, contact your operating unit's contract administrator to determine if an MOA that fits your specifications already exists. Questions about the place-based details of international collaboration or collaborators can be addressed by the area and thematic experts affiliated with the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

Note: All MOAs require the protection of academic freedom and non-discrimination on the basis of “age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.”

2. Preparing Compliant Contracts and Grants

For externally sponsored research projects, the Office of Sponsored Programs oversees international collaborations and funding. For other international contracts, please reach out to your operating unit's contract administrator. The Global Operations team ( can assist in identifying the best type of contract for your contemplated activity. International contracts are just one area of their expertise—they are also well versed in international human resources, tax, and other regulatory compliance concerns.

Note: Cornell is committed to maintaining compliance with the export control laws and regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Details regarding export control can be found on the Office of Sponsored Programs website or by contacting

Note: Research and other contracts with international collaborators should be completed well ahead of any deadlines related to funding, commencement of work, or public announcements, as they are extremely complicated and will likely require significant time to process.

3. Intellectual Property

The Center for Technology Licensing manages intellectual property (IP) in accordance with Cornell’s “Inventions and Related Property Rights” and “Copyright” policies. All Cornell inventions must be disclosed in writing to the Center for Technology Licensing, which evaluates and protects disclosed technologies with appropriate means, including patent applications filed in the United States and other countries. Export control personnel—working with the Center for Technology Licensing, Office of Sponsored Programs, and other relevant units—design and implement technology control plans and non-disclosure agreements to protect IP and material transfer.  

Note: The Center for Technology Licensing licenses technologies to corporate partners through license agreements. They work with export control personnel at Cornell to ensure the licensing practice complies with and is consistent with U.S. export control laws.

4. Export Control

The Export Control Office oversees Cornell University’s commitment to export control compliance and assists the University community is ensuring that export control laws are adhered to. Controlled activities include transfers out of the U.S., receipt and use of controlled technology in the U.S., travel to foreign locations, and payment to foreign entities. Each individual is responsible for complying with export control laws, and Cornell’s Export Control Office is here to assist. Contact information and additional details can be found on the Export Control Website.

5. Restricted Party Screening

Cornell University subscribes to a tool called “Visual Compliance” to check different entities for any restricted status. Visual Compliance screens against denied, restricted, and sanctioned parties watchlists published by the U.S. department of Commerce, State, and Treasury, as well as watchlists from law enforcement agencies, international foreign bodies, and foreign governments. If you have an entity or individual that you would like to screen, or you wish to obtain access to Visual Compliance, please contact Export Controls at

6. Immigration

For advice and assistance with bringing international researchers and faculty to the United States, see International Services in the Office of Global Learning.

Faculty traveling abroad on university business may require a specific type of entry visa to lawfully enter the country. Cornell’s visa processing services vendor, Travel Document Systems, can advise and process most types of visas; they are particularly helpful in applying for certain visas that can be especially challenging (e.g., those for China, Russia, Brazil).

7. University Oversight

The university has created an International Council made up of senior associate deans from each college, chaired by the vice provost for international affairs. This council meets monthly during the school year and provides advice, support, and oversight for international activities across the university. If you have a question, please reach out to the designate for your college, or to the vice provost for international affairs.

Note: The International Council has a Committee on Ethical Engagement that provides advice and suggested guidelines for engaging with foreign collaborators in ethical ways that respect cultural differences and align with Cornell’s core values. For questions on ethical engagement, please reach out to the designate for your college, or to the vice provost for international affairs.

Jan 15, 2021