Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When must I develop a formal International Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) or Agreement?
A. An IMOU or Agreement must be developed and processed through the Council for International Teaching and Research and the Vice Provost for International Affairs and Operations (VPIAO) whenever the arrangement involves non-U.S. governmental, NGO/non-profit, scientific/research, or educational institutions or organizations, and has financial, legal, curricular, organizational, or reputational implications for Princeton University or for any part of the University, including its offices, programs and departments. When such arrangements are a part of a larger sponsored project, research grant, or foundation or corporation-funded program, the appropriate office under the Dean for Research will work directly with the Council and VPIAO to determine if an IMOU or Agreement is required.
Q. Why must I route these Agreements/IMOU's through the Council for International Teaching and Research and the Vice Provost for International Affairs and Operations (VPIAO)?
A. Ensure that the Agreement is in compliance with legal and institutional requirements.
A. Avoid duplication. (In many cases, another department or program may already have a formal connection with the institution in question. It may be more efficient to add a specific project to an existing Agreement/International Memorandum of Understanding. Multiple departments’ activity with the same institution may be built on a single, general, institutional level IMOU.)
A. Identify other faculty/departments with similar interests in specific regions of the world or specific international research topics. (The VPIAO maintains a database of linkages with relevant faculty contact information.)
A. Utilize existing models. (The Council can advise on other successful partnership agreements and provide templates and standard language regarding financial obligations, equal opportunity statements, etc.)
A. Publicize your activity. (The Council and the VPIAO will pursue media releases or other means of publicizing new cooperative agreements. The Council will also include information about all new and continuing partnerships in its annual report to Princeton administrators and the Trustees.)
Q. What are the different types of partnership agreements?
A. Formal partnership agreements may include:
• International Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) = Usually a general agreement to explore cooperation in a wide variety of possible activities, including joint educational, training and/or research activities; exchanges of scholars, faculty, research personnel, graduate students and undergraduate students; exchange of information (including exchange of library materials); and practical training. An IMOU may also be signed when Princeton and the partner institution have established a record of cooperation at the level of a specific Agreement, and would like to explore more general forms of cooperation. A general IMOU can be the foundation for future Student Exchange Agreements or Memoranda of Agreement. Other specific arrangements that may be based on the foundation of a general IMOU include faculty and staff exchanges, and dual and joint degree programs (see below). A general IMOU may be processed before, after, or at the same time as more specific Agreements (as described below). When a general IMOU is signed before or at the same time as more specific Agreements, the specific Agreements will be treated as formal addenda to the IMOU. Non-binding, general IMOU's can usually be processed by the Council and the VPIAO without additional input from other Princeton offices or governing bodies.
• Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) = More general than a formal contract (such as a purchasing or employment contract) but reflects a sincere commitment to plan and implement specific activities. An MOA can be an addendum to a general IMOU. Multiple department or college specific MOAs can serve as addenda to a single institutional IMOU. Because these Agreements usually include some kind of financial or other resource commitment, they must be reviewed by the Academic Planning Group and the Office of General Counsel, upon recommendation by the Council.
• Faculty/Staff/Scholar Exchange Agreement = A specific agreement to develop a reciprocal or non-reciprocal faculty, staff, or scholar (usually post-doctoral) exchange program between Princeton and a foreign institution. This type of agreement can be developed via an addendum to a general IMOU. These arrangements can exist at a department, college, or university level. Various funding mechanisms exist. Because these Agreements affect Princeton research and teaching priorities, they must be reviewed by the Academic Planning Group, upon recommendation by the Council.
• Student Exchange Agreement = A specific agreement to develop a reciprocal exchange program between Princeton and a foreign institution. A Student Exchange Agreement can serve as an addendum to a general IMOU. A student exchange should not, however, be detailed within the body of an IMOU, since these programs obligate resources. The Director of the Princeton Office of International Programs must always be consulted before initiating an undergraduate student exchange agreement. Likewise, the Graduate School must be consulted prior to developing any graduate level exchange. Because these Agreements affect Princeton research and teaching priorities, they must be reviewed by the Academic Planning Group, upon recommendation by the Council.
• Joint Degree Program Agreement = Different variations are possible but, in general, students from a partner institution pursue studies leading to a BS or BA at their home institution and simultaneously a MS or MA from Princeton. These programs must meet the established Princeton guidelines for Bachelor’s/Master’s Joint Degree Programs. Joint Degrees should only be established on the basis of a strong IMOU. Because these Agreements affect Princeton research and teaching priorities, they must be reviewed by the Academic Planning Group, upon recommendation by the Council.
• Dual Degree Program Agreement = In general, students from Princeton and/or from a partner institution engage in studies at one or both institutions, receiving a degree from both institutions. Dual Degrees should only be established on the basis of a strong IMOU. Because these Agreements affect Princeton research and teaching priorities, they must be reviewed by the Academic Planning Group, upon recommendation by the Council.
Q. What if I want to develop an outgoing study abroad program?
A. Princeton’s Office of International Programs works with faculty in developing summer, semester and academic year faculty-led programs. Please contact the Office of International Programs for more information. For more information about building an overseas component into an on-campus Princeton course, contact the Office of the Dean of the College.
Q. Who should be listed as “contact” on the document?
A. The Princeton contact will usually be the faculty member who has initiated the project or activity with the foreign partner institution or an appropriate staff person from that faculty member’s department. This person may be contacted every couple of years for information about linkage activities. A contact for the partner institution must also be identified.
Q. What is the standard duration for an IMOU?
A. General IMOU's should be valid for a period of three to five years from the effective date and may be renewed before the expiration date by agreement between the parties. In some cases, the duration period may be shorter or longer. A specific MOA will usually remain effective for the period of time necessary to complete a specific project or set of projects. Other forms of specific agreements or addenda may have different periods of duration.
Q. Who needs to sign an Agreement?
A. Institutional IMOUs must be signed by the Provost. Department, College or program-specific MOAs should be signed by the appropriate Dean(s) and the Provost.
NOTE: Templates for different types of linkage agreements are provided as guidelines and suggestions, only. Princeton strives to be sensitive to the cultural and legal concerns of partner institutions, which may require the adaptation of these templates to fit specific needs. At the same time, Princeton programs, colleges and departments need to develop all new linkage agreements with the cooperation of the Council for International Teaching and Research to ensure that legal and other concerns are also met.