Skip to main content

Campus Resources for International Engagement

Today’s most pressing research questions are global. To support the university's growing international portfolio while maintaining compliance and common-sense security measures, Cornell provides these helpful resources and tools.

Day Hall with trees to the right and Uris Hall in the background.
The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs is located in Day Hall.

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 240 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.

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.”

Preparing Compliant Contracts and Grants

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. 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 expertise—we are also versed in international human resources, tax, and other regulatory compliance concerns. Email Global Operations.

Cornell is committed to maintaining compliance with export control laws and regulations released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Find out more about export controls on Research Services website or by email.

Intellectual Property

The Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) 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 CTL, which evaluates and protects disclosed technologies with appropriate means, including patent applications filed in the United States and other countries. CTL licenses technologies to corporate partners through license agreements. The CTL team works with the Export Controls Office to design and implement technology control plans and non-disclosure agreements to protect IP and material transfer.

Export Controls

The Export Controls Office oversees Cornell’s commitment to export control compliance and assists the university community in adhering to export control laws. Each individual is responsible for complying with export control laws. 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.

Restricted Party Screening

Cornell subscribes to a tool called Visual Compliance used to check 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 you would like to screen or you wish to obtain access to Visual Compliance, please email Export Controls. The Global Operations team screens new collaborators as part of the Icertis contract management process. 


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

Faculty traveling abroad on university business may require a specific type of entry visa to enter the country lawfully. 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).

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.

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.

Updated: Jan. 15, 2021