Building new partnerships and collaborations

The University of Ottawa’s International Office liaises with the University community as well as with current and potential partners to develop and foster international collaborations. Our experienced team can advise you on the best forms of collaboration and suitable partner institutions, so that collaborations support the goals of the academic unit and the institution. We also advise on developing, managing and renewing international agreements.

Do you need an agreement?

Not all international activities require a formal agreement. Research collaborations normally do not unless, for example, there are financial implications or a commitment to share resources. Researchers can often work together without an agreement. A formal agreement is not required when developing a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) initiative. Our professors can work directly with counterparts at external universities to develop such projects. Our team can also assist you in the development of such projects. 

However, some collaborations do require a formal agreement, such as when there are financial implications or the collaboration concerns academic standards or for-credit activities. The following forms of collaboration require an agreement:

  • Student mobility programs, including academic exchanges
  • Programs for joint funding of students sponsored by a government or third-party
  • Articulation and transfer credit agreements
  • Joint and double degree programs
  • Non-academic or non-degree professional development programs delivered at uOttawa
  • Programs that involve commitment of resources, including faculty mobility opportunities
  • Commitments involving funding agencies
  • Commitments to participate in consortia on international projects 

Note : The International Office manages international collaborations that involve the University at large and are not strictly research-focused. Two uOttawa services manage international research collaborations: Researcher-to-researcher collaborations are supported by the Office of International Research, while initiatives that focus on student mobility for research purposes are handled by the Centre for Research Opportunities. For collaborations involving international community engagement placements (internships), please contact the Community Service Learning program (CSL) team.

If you are unsure whether your initiative requires an agreement, email us

Developing an international collaboration

Developing a formal international collaboration doesn’t begin and end with signing an agreement. Please click on the tabs below to view the steps involved in the partnership life cycle.

InformationThe agreement process can take from a few weeks to several months. Contact us well in advance of any critical dates to ensure enough time for us to evaluate your request and for all parties to prepare documentation. Due to the volume of requests and approval process involved, we cannot accommodate rush requests for reasons including but not limited to incoming or outgoing visits, conference attendance, or last-minute requests.


Step 1 : Exploration


  1. Discussion: Any potential collaboration should begin with a discussion between the uOttawa initiator and the potential partner. The International Office may be involved in these discussions or in advising you on the best form of collaboration. You must also consult with and confirm the support of your academic unit or faculty authorities.
  2. Proposal: After your initial discussions and once you have received the support of your academic unit or faculty, complete and submit the Proposal for Partnerships form
  3. Evaluation: The International Office will seek clarification as required and present your proposal to the Evaluation Committee, which sits once a month. The committee is chaired by the Chief Internationalization Officer and includes members from the Faculties and the International Office, as appropriate. When evaluating your proposal,  the committee will  take various criteria into account, including:
  • Existing collaborations and the relationship with the institution concerned
  • Existing collaborations in the country or region concerned
  • Choice of partner institution (reputation overall and in proposed field, ranking, location, course and service offering, etc.)
  • Scope of the collaboration and parties involved
  • Relevance and necessity of the agreement to accomplish the identified goals
  • Alignment with the internationalization strategies of the faculty and University
  • Feasibility of proposed activities
  • Availability of resources to create and manage the collaboration

Once your proposal has been evaluated, we will inform you of the committee’s decision.

Please note :
InformationThere may be a delay in evaluating your request due to the volume of requests. As well, depending on the scope of your proposal, we may need to consult several offices.

Step 2 : Development


  1. Choosing the right type of agreement: If the proposal is approved, we will support you in selecting the appropriate type of agreement to develop. There are several kinds of agreements, most lasting for an initial period of three to five years. The below list shows the most common kinds of agreements: 
    • Collaborative program (such as 3+1+2 or 3+2, etc.): A program allowing an incoming student who has completed a certain portion of their degree at their home university (a uOttawa partner) to enrol at uOttawa to complete the remaining requirements of that degree (one or more years), before undertaking another degree (for example, a one to two year master’s). The partner university awards the initial degree and uOttawa awards the subsequent degree.
    • Consortium: A group of partners (for example, universities, other postsecondary institutions and administrative entities) taking part in a joint project.
    • Double degree: A program that requires students to meet the degree requirements of both the home and host universities, allowing them to receive two degrees, one from each university.
    • Erasmus+:  A program by the European Union that provides funding for the mobility of individuals. Erasmus+ allows uOttawa to exchange students and staff with our select Erasmus+ partners in Europe.
    • Letter of intent: A non-binding signed document outlining and confirming the preliminary desire to form a partnership and intention to provide deliverables or act on specified plans.
    • Student mobility (international exchange) agreements: Agreements enabling students from uOttawa and partner institutions to study at the other institution for one or two terms. This can be a standalone agreement or an annex to a Memorandum of Understanding between partner institutions.
    • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU): A broad agreement between two parties outlining a range of possible areas for collaboration. It can be university-wide or specific to a faculty or academic unit. If a university-wide MoU already exists with a partner, a faculty-specific MoU is not required. Though not usually legally binding itself, an MoU is often accompanied by an appendix that is legally binding and commits to specific activities, such as student or faculty mobility, as well as including details pertaining to operational matters and the parties’ responsibilities.
    • Research agreement: The main agreement or an appendix to a Memorandum of Understanding specifying details related to joint research between partner institutions. For more information, contact the Office of International Research.
    • Sponsorship agreement: An agreement between uOttawa and a sponsoring agency (governmental or other third-party organization) that stipulates the terms of a scholarship. For further information, contact the Sponsored Students Program
  2. Defining roles and responsibilities: Administrative, academic and strategic responsibilities will depend on the scope of the agreement and parties involved. The International Office can advise you on how to develop an implementation plan and how to define the responsibilities of the parties according to the type of agreement.
  3. Drafting the agreement: If the proposed agreement is accepted, we work with the relevant faculty and other academic units concerned to develop a draft agreement. We use uOttawa standardized templates when possible; however, a template provided by the prospective partner can be used when deemed appropriate by the uOttawa International Office.
  4. Negotiating and finalizing the agreement text: The International Office and the relevant uOttawa faculty or academic unit negotiate the agreement details with the proposed partner. This usually involves several rounds of discussion that can take several weeks or months.
  5. Translation (if applicable): We have standardized templates available in English and French. However, new agreements might need to be translated. For languages other than English or French, the partner institution must prepare the translation. Agreements with an English or French version and a version in another language must stipulate that the English or French version is the authoritative one.
  6. Additional approvals for shared credentials (if applicable): For collaborations that involve shared credentials or for collaborative program agreements, the relevant uOttawa academic unit or faculty must approve the agreement, including details such as course sequence, credit calculations and implementation.
  7. Governance and signing: Most agreements must be signed by the uOttawa central administration, according to the procedure outlined by the Office of the President. We can assist you with this. Signing authorities vary, depending on the scope of the collaboration. They may include the Pesident, the Provost and Vice-President, Academic, the Secretary-General and/or the appropriate Dean. Depending on the availability of the parties involved, this can also be a lengthy step in the process. Signatories do not have to be the same for both parties — a partner may have fewer, more or different signatories than uOttawa. The uOttawa signatories included in an agreement provided by the International Office cannot be changed without prior authorization from the uOttawa governing authorities.
  8. Archiving: The International Office will initiate the archiving process of hard copies and electronic scans. Submit your agreement to us; we will  keep a digital copy of it.

Step 3 : Implementation


  • Responsibilities: In order to ensure that the collaboration is successfully implemented, each party must adhere to the responsibilities agreed upon in the implementation plan (see Step 2, point 2).  
  • Promotion: The parties implementing the collaboration must disseminate information and promote the collaboration to the relevant audiences.
  • Operations: For shared credential or collaborative programs, the faculty or academic unit concerned must monitor the operations of the agreement, including making any changes to academic programs, creating new course codes, registering students, etc.

Step 4 : Management


Collaboration continues past the signing and launch of an agreement. The parties responsible must manage the collaboration throughout the term of the agreement.

  • Recording: Whoever is responsible for implementing the agreement must maintain quantitative and qualitative records of the collaboration, covering matters such as the flow of students or professors, the use of resources and the experiences of participants.
  • Relationship management and monitoring: It is important to maintain contact with the parties involved, to share and collect feedback and to determine any required changes. The implementation plan should name the parties responsible for relationship management. 

Step 5 : Evaluation


It is important to evaluate the collaboration, short, medium and long term. We can assist with this.

  • Short term: What were the immediate results of the collaboration? Include quantitative and qualitative aspects.
  • Medium term: Did students, professors, the Faculty or the University at large benefit or suffer because of the collaboration?  
  • Long term: What results have been achieved (or should be expected) for the Faculty, University, or community at large?

Any decision regarding renewing an agreement or creating similar agreements in the future must take into account the evaluation results.

Step 6 (if applicable): Renewal


This process is similar to the one for creating an agreement; follow the instructions in Step 1 (including completing the Proposal for Partnership Renewal form). For more information, contact us.

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