Compliance Guidance for International Engagements
As a leading global research university CMU maintains an unwavering commitment to academic freedom and to the free exchange of ideas in an inclusive and welcoming environment. These are bedrock principles that are core to our research and education missions and go hand in hand with our commitment to robust global engagement.
Fruitful engagements with individuals and entities outside of the United States will frequently involve an exchange of information, time and resources whose underlying activities may be subject to regulations and policies that are complex and evolving. This site, which was created as a result of a recommendation from the President’s Committee on International Engagements, is intended to act as a resource to CMU faculty and staff who are working with or contemplating working with individuals or entities that are based outside of the United States to ensure that such interactions are pursued in compliance with federal law and CMU Policy.
Any collaboration and/or activity involving a person or entity outside of the United States requires at least a minimal amount of consideration and/or preparation by the CMU faculty or staff member performing the work beyond what might typically be required for a US-based entity or person. However, an escalated level of risk is frequently associated with work with a country of concern OR activities that flow from contracts (i.e. sponsored research, educational, and gift agreements) with foreign entities and/or contracts that support work with foreign collaborators or support work performed outside the U.S. Therefore, while this site contains guidance that is relevant for a spectrum of “international engagements,” it gives particular emphasis to those activities involving a contractual arrangement of any kind or work that involves individuals or entities based in a country of concern.
Note that this site does not currently provide guidance on how to strategically approach and structure new international engagements and partnerships. Such guidance can be found by consulting partnerships officers and leaders in individual colleges, the Center for Business Engagement, University Advancement, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) and the Office of the Vice Provost for Education. In addition, this site is not intended to provide information on CMU’s Global campuses, other existing international partnerships, or other programs, such as study abroad programs. Information about these and similar programs can be found by navigating the sites of the Office of the Vice Provost for Education (OVPE) and/or the individual colleges.
Direct any questions regarding this Guidance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The OVPR periodically hosts information sessions on Zoom to review and answer questions related to this guidance for international engagements and partnerships.
Next session: June 2, 2022, 9:00 am.
After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a calendar invitation.
Watch a recorded information session from June 2021. However, please note that while much of the information is still relevant, federal regulations are changing. Therefore, you should still review the information above and/or consult with the Export Compliance group to receive the most up-to-date guidance. For any questions or clarifications email email@example.com.
Guidance for All International Engagements and Partnerships
This guidance applies to any CMU student, faculty or staff member that may pursue research, educational and philanthropic engagements and partnerships with foreign based individuals or entities.
- Engage the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and/or University Advancement (UA) representatives as early as possible when considering a research, education or philanthropic engagement with an entity or individual based in a country of concern that will require a contract of any kind.
- Submit all proposals for externally sponsored projects through the OSP SPARCS system.
- Work with gift officers in colleges and/or University Advancement before soliciting any gifts.
- CMU faculty and staff without institutional signature authority should not sign any Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or other similar documents that imply a commitment to collaborate or intention to collaborate, even if they believe these documents are not legally binding. MOUs and similar documents that are research related should be referred to OSP. Those that are education or teaching-related should be referred to OVPE. OSP and OVPE will engage with the Office of General Counsel (OGC) as needed.
- Be aware of and, wherever possible, follow CMU travel guidance and policies associated with any international engagements. In particular, you should review the following:
- If you intend to bring external collaborators/partners to work on-site at CMU you should follow the Collaborating Visitor Guidance.
- Shipping or carrying tangible items outside of the United States may subject you and the university to Export Control regulations. See the Export Compliance Group’s (ECG) guidance before shipping or carrying tangible items overseas.
- Data transmitted electronically to entities outside of the United states may also be subject to Export Control regulations. Consult with ECG before transferring any data that is not already in the public domain or intended to be put in the public domain and is not subject to a sponsor review or restriction.
- Be aware that US agencies are revising and updating what you are required to disclose as “other support” as part of your reporting and disclosure requirements for federally sponsored projects. OSP continues to work with researchers and research administrators to advise of the most up-to-date requirements for each agency/award. You should assume that you will have to disclose all activities in which you receive any kind of support from a foreign based individual or entity, including “in kind” support such as access to data, personnel or facilities. You should also assume that work and support received as a result of any advisory or consulting activities will also be subject to disclosure requirements.
Guidance for Research-Focused International Engagements and Partnerships
Guidance given to CMU researchers working with foreign entities and/or individuals is frequently dependent on whether or not there is a contractual agreement that governs (or will govern) the relevant work.
Contracted Research Activities with Foreign Sponsors, Foreign Collaborators or Foreign Sites of PerformanceAs part of their standard proposal and award processes, OSP and ORIC will work with the Principal Investigator (PI) to navigate issues relevant for work that involves foreign sponsors, internationally-based collaborators and/or international sites. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Ensuring that the sponsor and any foreign collaborators have been subjected to a restricted party screening (RPS);
- Reviewing the scope of work for materials and/or activities that may require an export control license and/or a technology control plan (TCP);
- Ensuring appropriate Intellectual Property (IP) protections (including any background or underlying IP that may have been generated as a result of federally funded work);
- Ensuring that any required or expected internal escalations and approvals (i.e., Dept head, Dean, VPR) are obtained, particularly for agreements involving any country of concern;
- Ensuring that the executed agreement is appropriately reported as part of institutional obligations such as sec 117 etc.; and
- Any special considerations for doing work “on site” in an international location.
Non-Contracted (i.e. “informal”) Collaborations with Representatives of Foreign Governements or Other Foreign Entities
CMU generally discourages doing substantive work with representatives of a foreign government or private foreign entity (foreign company or foreign foundation) without a governing agreement in place and all of the associated review and screening activities.
In particular, you should not pursue engagements with individuals or entities who are based in one of the countries or regions that is comprehensively sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) without first consulting with the Export Compliance Group (ECG). Such countries are a highlighted subset of the CMU Countries of Concern list.
If a prospective meeting or collaboration is with a representative from an entity in any other country of concern, researchers should first consult with ORIC via (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), who will conduct a Restricted Party Screening and provide additional guidance.
Any meetings with such individuals or entities to discuss prospective collaboration or sponsorship should only include discussion of work that is either already published or in the public domain (e.g. books, newspapers, pamphlets; publicly available technology and software; information presented at conferences, meetings, and seminars open to the public; information included in published patents; websites freely accessible by the public) or you intend to publish or place in the public domain and is not subject to a sponsor review or restriction.
Non-contracted (i.e. "informal") Collaborations with Members of Foreign Academic Institutions
An unfunded collaboration with an academic colleague at a foreign institution that has no related contract typically does not require a formal review and approval by ECG within ORIC provided the following are all true:
- The collaborator’s institution is not based in one of the countries that is comprehensively sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Such countries are a highlighted subset of the CMU Countries of Concern list.
- Any data or information being shared is either already published or in the public domain (e.g. books, newspapers, pamphlets; publicly available technology and software; information presented at conferences, meetings, and seminars open to the public; information included in published patents; websites freely accessible by the public);
- All results of the collaboration are intended to be put in the public domain (i.e. published or open sourced etc.) and is not subject to a sponsor review or restriction; and
- The collaboration does not involve CMU researchers performing their portion of the research on site in an international location.
If a researcher is unsure about any of the above, they are encouraged to consult with ORIC prior to engaging with their international collaborators on the relevant research.
Researchers contemplating an informal collaboration with someone residing in a country of concern are encouraged to reach out to ORIC for an RPS screening.
In addition, researchers are still responsible for considering and seeking guidance on issues related to IP, export control, travel, and others outlined in the section above on general guidelines for all international engagements.
Guidance for Education-Focused Engagements and Partnerships
Proposed international educational and training programs, including those that do not grant academic credit or degrees such as executive education and certificate programs must be approved by the Office of the Provost prior to any final contractual review and approval. Once approved by the Provost (after college/department approval), they will go through standard contract processes with OSP and/or OGC. The Provost has designated the Office of the Vice Provost for Education (OVPE) as the cognizant office for facilitating the review of any prospective international education program agreements.
Anyone contemplating any partnership or program that involves any of the following are required to consult with the OVPE:
- a written agreement with a foreign entity (including non-binding memorandums of understanding);
- delivering course content that is not typically used in teaching (i.e. information released during instruction in a catalog course or associated teaching laboratory of CMU or another academic institution), or otherwise is information already published or in the public domain (e.g. books, newspapers, pamphlets; publicly available technology and software; information presented at conferences, meetings, and seminars open to the public; information included in published patents; websites freely accessible by the public).
Contact VPE@andrew.cmu.edu if any prospective engagement meets the above criteria or you are unsure. All such inquiries should be made at least 30 days prior to the date by which the unit intends to begin the associated program.
Provost-level approval is NOT required for participating in traditional academic dissemination activities such as presenting at international conferences. However, you should only present work that is either already in the public domain (either via publication in books, journal articles, newsletters, pamphlets; publicly available technology and software; information presented at conferences, meetings, and seminars open to the public; information included in published patents; websites freely accessible by the public) or you intend to put in the public domain and is not subject to a sponsor review or restriction.
Guidance for Pursuing Gifts and Philanthropy from Foreign Entities and Persons
Individual faculty and staff should not solicit philanthropic donations from organizations or individuals without coordinating with a qualified representative from their unit and/or University Advancement (UA).
If a prospective gift involves a foreign entity or Non-US person, procedures have been established between UA and the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) to ensure the appropriate restricted party screenings and internal escalations, reviews and approvals are obtained prior to accepting such a gift. These processes also ensure that CMU’s Gift Acceptance, Counting and Reporting Policy is followed.