Skip to main content

International Contracting Basics

On this page, you'll find essential information and resources for planning international agreements.

Hand holding a pen and signing a contract.

Partner with the Right Office

Depending on the contract scope, one of the following offices will be responsible: Office of Sponsored ProgramsProcurement ServicesCenter for Technology Licensing, Alumni Affairs and Development, or Global Operations. Cornell is committed to complying with federal and state reporting requirements for foreign gifts and contracts—ensure your contract is channeled through the appropriate office. If you’re not sure who to contact about your contemplated activity, Global Operations can help.

Plan ahead! Allow weeks to months for the contracting process, depending on the complexity of your agreement. 

International Agreements in Global Operations’ Scope

Global Operations manages Cornell's contracting procedures for several types of international agreements, as described below. These types of agreements must be initiated by your unit's contract administrator and only executed by the authorized signatory, which is specific to contract type. Global Operations partners with the Office of General Counsel to make available a variety of contract templates to help document an intended relationship.

Agreements under Global Operations’ purview: 

International Institutional Collaborations

  • Relationships governed by memoranda of agreement (MOA), project agreements, letters of intent, letter agreements, memoranda of understanding (MOU), and similar agreements regardless of title
  • Scholarship agreements between Cornell and international entities, including governments and corporations
  • Grants from internal funding sources to international collaborators or community stakeholders

International Revenue-Generating Activities

  • Relationships governed by master services agreements (MSA), statements of work (SoW), educational services agreements, and similar agreements regardless of title
  • Activities funded by a foreign entity or when Cornell conducts work out of the U.S.
  • Revenue-generating activities that fall outside sponsored research, including executive education, training, etc.
  • Non-degree program tuition or service revenue
  • Other review-generating activities

International Independent Contractors

  • Relationships with individuals or non-corporate entities that reside or perform services outside of the United States and provide personal services to Cornell, while retaining control over the means and methods of accomplishing the result.

Who Can Sign?

According to Cornell Transaction Policy 4.2, 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. Delegation plans extend this authority to deans of colleges and schools and authorized approvers for university-level units. Only these designated signatories may sign international agreements for your unit, college, or school.

Elsewhere at Cornell

Some Cornell activities happen in the international arena, but are outside Global Operations' scope:

Negotiating a Contract?

Consult our overview of international contracting tips and best practices (NetID required).