International Research Collaborations

International research is foundational to Emory’s profile as a leading research university. The Office of the SVPR seeks to foster safe international collaborations by partnering with administrative and academic units from across the university. The Office of the SVPR leads the development and coordination of our university-wide research security program.

What You Should Know

The Office of the SVPR is committed to fostering safe, international collaborations. Following are key areas to consider as you engage internationally.

An agreement is required for:

An agreement should be considered for:

  • Exchange of confidential information (NDA)
  • Transfer of materials (MTA)
    • Material Transfer Agreements (MTA) are used to exchange research materials with an external party.  MTAs place restrictions on the use, confidentiality or publication of the research materials and may also address compensation for the materials to cover the cost of creation and/or shipment. 

      Research materials can include a range of incoming or outgoing items, for example - prototypes, algorithms, plasmids, mouse models - and may be subject to government regulations and sponsor and/or university policies.

  • Transfer of data (DUA)
    • Data Use Agreements (DUA) are used to transmit, receive or exchange non-public data to/from an external party.  DUAs place restrictions on the use, disclosure, confidentiality or publication of data.    

      DUAs for incoming data from a non-U.S. entity or of a non-U.S. origin may contain additional data privacy requirements (e.g. European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, China's Personal Information Protection Law).  

International activities must be properly disclosed in your Disclosure Profile in eDisclose and to federal sponsor agencies as required by grant application guidelines and terms of awards.

Faculty should carefully review the terms for external appointments, especially if they have federally sponsored research, to ensure that the terms of the agreement are not in conflict with their Emory responsibilities.  Examples of potential conflicts include: 

  • Time commitment  
  • Scientific overlap 
  • Intellectual property assignment 
  • Attribution in publications

Faculty should understand the characteristics of foreign government talent recruitment programs (FTRP).  In some cases, federal sponsors prohibit a PI's participation in a foreign government talent program or consider these external appointments when making award determinations.  Affiliations with FTRPs must be disclosed in eDisclose and to federal sponsors, and affiliation with a malign foreign talent recruitment program (MFTRP) is prohibited by federal sponsors.

Foreign components of federally funded research should be disclosed on proposals, progress reports, and final technical reports. Foreign components are defined "as any significant scientific element or segment of a project outside of the United States. It includes performance of work by a researcher or recipient in a foreign location, whether or not NIH grant funds are expended and/or  performance of work by a researcher in a foreign location employed or paid for by a foreign organization, whether or not NIH grant funds are expended" (NIH - NOT-OD-19-114).

Most research conducted by Emory University is Fundamental Research. The U.S. Government defines fundamental research as basic or applied research in science and engineering meeting the following criteria:

  • Places no restrictions on publication, and is done with the intention to publish
  • Places no restriction on who may participate
  • (If ITAR-regulated) is performed at a US institution of higher learning

Fundamental research is excluded from export controls, meaning that researchers can freely exchange and publish their results. However, the Fundamental Research Exclusion only applies to results. Other activities and material are still subject to export controls:

  • Tangible products (other than software) of fundamental research, such as prototypes
  • Encryption software
  • Teaching as a service
  • Some training/technology transfer, defense services
  • Some tools, software, and data needed to perform the research
  • Consulting-type assistance or services

Tips for mitigating risks to Fundamental Research

  • Avoid restrictions on publication, and on who may participate
  • Review of sponsored research proposals and awards by OSP, Export Controls, and Research Security.
  • Avoid using highly-controlled technology or software
  • Screen collaborators and their institutions
  • Disclose formal and informal international affiliations and collaborations
  • Follow university policy and procedure regarding international travel, shipping, data sharing and transfer, and outside activities

New inventions should be disclosed to OTT (Office of Technology Transfer) before publication or dissemination of research results.  An invention may be any new and useful process, machine, composition of matter, life form, article of manufacture, software, trademark, copyrighted work, or tangible research property. In order for an invention to be patentable it must be useful, it must be new and original, and it must be non-obvious.  

Publications should accurately reflect affiliations, contributions and support.   Federal agencies also monitor publications to ensure that foreign components, international collaborators and funding support have been properly reported both in the manuscript and to the agency. 

Scientific overlap occurs when (1) substantially the same research is proposed in more than one application or is submitted to two or more funding sources for review and funding consideration or (2) a specific research objective and the research design for accomplishing the objective are the same or closely related in two or more applications or awards, regardless of the funding source (NIH Just-in-Time Procedures). 

There should be no scientific overlap between the research being conducted with an international collaborator and a federal award unless the collaboration has been approved by the federal sponsor. 

Emory University encourages the collaborative exchange of ideas fostered by faculty, scholars and students from other institutions. Applicable rules and regulations must be followed when hosting visitors. The Visiting Scholars and Visiting Students policy establishes a transparent and consistent process to be followed when bringing visitors to Emory. The Policy sets out minimum requirements that schools and hosting units must follow when receiving vising faculty, scholars, and students.

Contact Us

For additional information or assistance, please contact:

International Collaborations Support: