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Exploring Academic Collaboration

Are you thinking about launching an international academic collaboration—or formalizing an existing partnership?

Six people on a Zoom screen on a laptop.

You have a number of options if you and one or more international peers are working together (as opposed to one of the parties earning revenue from the relationship). Some types of collaborations do not require formal written agreements. If you think your academic collaboration may require a legally binding agreement, please talk with your unit’s designated contract administrator.

If you're planning an agreement between an international university and your department, college or school, or all of Cornell, find out more about institutional partnerships.

About Cornell's MOA

Cornell has more than 240 active agreements with universities and institutions worldwide. This number includes MOA, project agreements, and similar agreement types, such as memoranda of understanding, letters of intent, and letter agreements. Read more about international contracting basics, including agreement types.

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) is the most common formal agreement between two or more parties. MOA are legally binding documents that outline the working relationship. Project agreements, which are governed by an overarching MOA with the collaborator, detail specific arrangements and focus on a distinct purpose like visiting scholar exchanges, student exchanges, resource sharing, or joint research. Student exchanges are generally initiated by Cornell faculty and managed by individual colleges and/or the Office of Global Learning.

In our experience, the most successful institutional partnerships rely on long-term commitment from faculty and their international counterparts. For this reason, any proposal for a formal institutional relationship must have at least one Cornell faculty sponsor.

If you are interested in establishing a college-level or university-wide agreement with another institution, please follow the steps outlined in Establishing a Institutional Partnership.