Agreements and Criteria - International Collaborations

Agreements and Criteria

Following "approval to proceed", new MoUs can be developed by Faculty members or administrators with the support of their Faculty. (See appendix B).

Once the basic points of the MoU, are determined and committed to a draft agreement (appendices B, C), USP policy requires the proposal to be vetted and approved at several levels (depending upon the nature of the agreement).

Where necessary ICAG will work with academic schools, departments and administrative centres to obtain necessary approvals for a proposed collaboration to become officially recognized. Generally, once a draft agreement and summary is received by ICAG, the approval process can take up to a month (and possibly longer in the case of complex agreements) to achieve full authorization. Once approved, the Vice Chancellor, the initiating Faculty’s Executive Dean - or Head of School / Department, or a combination thereof – will, depending upon the nature of the agreement, sign the official document as part of the authorization process. ICAG may also be approached to help Faculties with protocol aspects inherent in the process as negotiations advance.

Types of Agreement
Written agreements are required for all international collaborations that commit USP resources. Careful consideration should be given to the public statement made by the signing of such agreements. The signing of documents simply for presentation or ceremony, or for inclusion in a long list of linkage agreements under which no substantive activities are envisioned, is discouraged. International collaborations should be based on clear commitments from the University of the South Pacific and should offer long-term benefits to the participating USP unit(s) and to the partner institution.

Formal agreements may not be necessary in the case of small research group or individual research collaborations where no funding agreements are involved.  In the case of jointly funded Research, the agreements entered into with the funding body may suffice.  In all cases however ICAG must be informed and the collaboration acknowledged using the “approval to proceed”, form (appendix A).

Collaborations may involve the following:

Procedure and policy for ”visiting academics” is covered by a separate HR policy and procedure (policy 5.6.14 Visiting Academic Appointments – appendix D).

General criteria for the establishment of International University agreements

Collaborations should only be pursued with prestigious institutions which will support or add to the standing of USP.
Collaborations must provide tangible benefits to USP and advance USP toward achieving its academic mission.
Collaborations ideally will provide University – wide opportunities.
Collaborations must at least be financially neutral unless supplemented by a third party.
Exchanges - staff or student, must be based on demonstrable reciprocity.

Would the partner(s) enhance or detract from the possibility of forming other strategic partnerships?
Ensure that if adopted, whether the MOU would conflict with any previously agreed

Agreement of friendship and Cooperation or Memorandum of Understanding
An Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation or MoU is an agreement or joint statement that confirms the intention of the cooperating institutions to work to develop collaborative activities related to research, instruction (see 4.1), but which does not make commitments to specific activities (appendix B).

Implementation Plan
The Implementation Plan makes specific program arrangements providing for transfer of information, faculty, staff, and/or students between the institutions for education, research, or related activities, which would include numbers of persons involved and the lengths of their visits. Implementation plans confirm activities for a defined period of time, such as one to two academic years. Separate implementation plans may be developed for more than one campus or Faculty under the terms of an institutional MoU. (appendix D)

Implementation plan Approval
All Implementation Plans must be submitted to ICAG for approval prior to final signing

Two original copies of each approved agreement should be produced and signed by all concerned parties.

Each institution should retain one original copy.  At USP these will be archived in the Registry.

It is strongly suggested that both parties agree to sign two versions of each agreement, one in English and one in the official language of the partner institution.

Signature lines should be provided for the highest administrative officers taking into account the scope of that agreement. For example, the appropriate signatory is the counterparts from each side of the partnership: ie., Faculty to Faculty, university to university.

Length of Term of Agreement
All agreements should include an ending date, or a definite point in time at which a review of the terms of agreement will take place. It may be that what is considered to be valuable, advantageous, and beneficial at one point in time may not be considered so in five or ten years. Backing out of a commitment or terminating a relationship can be awkward. A design that allows for review and renegotiation after a specified period of time is therefore essential. 

October 2006

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