Office of Global Affairs

UW International Agreements

Types of International Agreements

  1. A UW International Memorandum of Understanding (I-MOU) is a broad statement of intent by which the University of Washington and a non-U.S. institution express mutual interest to establish a relationship that may result in future collaborative activities including: student and faculty exchanges, joint conferences and/or research projects or other initiatives. The I-MOU is often used at signing ceremonies to acknowledge the beginning of a new relationship. It may also serve as the first step in developing specific, binding agreements in the future. The UW I-MOU is explicitly non-binding and should not contain any commitment of university funds, staff, facilities or other university resources.
  2. UW International Formal Agreements, in contrast to I-MOUs, specify and assign financial, performance and/or other legal responsibilities associated with a project to be completed within a specific time period. A formal agreement is legally binding and subject to UW contract clearance procedures.

Signing Authority


Signing authority is usually based on administrative parity in the levels between the respective institutions. For example, a UW Department Chair can sign a UW I-MOU with a department chair at another university with the support of her/his UW Dean. The UW Dean can enter into an I-MOU with the Dean of a Faculty/School/College at another university. In each case, the Vice Provost of Global Affairs, Jeffrey Riedinger, will sign representing the University of Washington’s central administration.

Individual faculty and staff do not have the authority to sign a UW I-MOU or formal agreements on behalf of the UW.

The table below describes signatures required for UW I-MOUs at different administrative levels:

Level of I-MOU Department Chair Dean of College/School OGA Vice Provost


International Research Agreements

Only The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) has authority to sign formal research agreements on behalf of the University. For more information see: Administrative Review of Cooperative Agreements.

Approval Process for International MOU

The Office of Global Affairs is currently reviewing I-MOU best practices in discussions with university administrators, faculty and peer institutions. Until further notice, all I-MOUs must be vetted and approved by the Office of Global Affairs prior to signing. Departments or Schools/Colleges are welcome to initiate and lead potential collaborations with international partner institutions, but the Office of Global Affairs must verify that the content and framework for such collaborations comply with University of Washington standards and forms.

Deans, Directors, and Chairs who anticipate signing a non-binding MOU with a foreign institution should use the UW’s I-MOU Template. If another MOU template is used or modifications are made to the UW template, the process will require additional review by the UW Attorney General Office prior to approval and hence more time to complete.

To Propose a UW I-MOU:

  1. Download and complete the UW I-MOU Cover Brief
  2. Download UW I-MOU Template and enter missing information in the document (e.g., Dept or School name; partner institution name; signature information; etc) . Highlight all changes made to the document in red.
  3. Email the completed UW I-MOU Cover Brief and UW I-MOU draft (no signatures) to Cameron Frisch, Office of Global Affairs, for initial review and comment:
  4. After written notification of preliminary approval from Office of Global Affairs, print two copies on high-quality paper and gather the appropriate UW departmental and/or administrative unit signature(s)
  5. Send two hard-copies of I-MOU with UW signatures to Office of Global Affairs for final approval and signature by the UW’s Vice Provost of Global Affairs.

Following Signature by Vice Provost of Global Affairs:

  1. The I-MOU will be returned to the UW sponsor (individual listed in the I-MOU Proposal Form).
  2. UW sponsor sends both copies of the signed I-MOU to the foreign institution for signature by counterparts.
  3. Following signature(s) on both copies by counterparts, one copy of signed I-MOU should return to the UW sponsor; the other should remain with the foreign institution.
  4. UW sponsor scans and emails an electronic copy of the fully executed (signed) I-MOU to Cameron Frisch, Office of Global Affairs:

UW I-MOU Proposal Form & Template


For questions about UW I-MOUs or to determine if an I-MOU already exists with a particular institution contact:

Cameron Frisch
Office of Global Affairs
Tel. 206-685-3844

For questions about International Research Agreements contact:

Michael Corn
Office of Sponsored Programs
Tel. 206-616-2585