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Drafting agreements and project applications

GUIDANCE AND ADVICE TO HELP YOU ASSURE THE QUALITY OF THE PROCESS OF DRAFTING AGREEMENTS

Links to the different steps in the process

Current templates can be found in the right hand column on this webpage.

Drafting agreements

Agreements and project applications – step-by-step guide

Step 1: Definitions – different types of agreements

Step 2: The process – drafting agreements and project applications

Step 3: Evaluation – quality assurance

Drafting agreements

The External Relations division, together with the Legal Office, prepare, review and negotiate international agreements/project applications between Lund University and international universities, organisations and authorities. These agreements/projects must comply with Lund University’s interests. In order to have influence over the content of the agreement/project application, it is important that you contact the Legal Office and External Relations at an early stage of the process. Together, we can create an agreement or project application that reflects the interests of all involved parties.  

Before you start writing a new agreement, you should find out which agreements already exist between Lund University and the university that you are interested in.

For current agreements, see page on international opportunities and partnerships

You can also find out whether you can collaborate through our already established networks.

Read more on the page about collaborating through networks

Agreements and project applications – step-by-step guide

Follow these three steps to assure the quality of international collaboration agreements, and ensure that the agreements comply with the University’s strategy for internationalisation.

  1. Definitions 
  2. The process 
  3. Evaluation and quality assurance

Step 1: Definitions – different types of agreements

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), also called Letter of Intent/ Letter of Endorsement, is a declaration of intent and the framework for future collaboration: a statement about one’s wishes to collaborate in certain specified areas, and that this is supported by the organisations. Contracts subordinated to MoU regulate the specific conditions that apply for collaboration.
  • Agreements are specified contracts within defined areas with legally binding content. These agreements can be subordinated to an MoU or an independent agreement. Agreements can be bilateral and multilateral. The agreements should clearly specify the terms: what shall be accomplished and how, time frame, evaluation, period of notice, conflict resolution, etc.
  • Consortium Agreements must in most cases be signed by all participants in the consortium before a contract is signed with, for example, the EU Commission.  Budget allocations, conditions for rights to use the results, the decision-making structure of the consortium etc., are regulated by the parties in the consortium agreement. Contact the Legal Office for more information.

The following international areas of collaboration are the most common

  1. Mobility agreements: Students, doctoral students, teaching staff, researchers, technical/administrative staff
  2. Project agreements: e.g. EU collaboration projects that are often regulated through consortium agreements
  3. Programme agreements: e.g. EU international programmes in education, regional or international collaboration programmes
  4. Other agreements: SANORD, Swedish Development Cooperation, FN, UNESCO, etc.

Please note that if an agreement/project application does not comply with LU or EU templates, the Legal Office must be contacted. A thorough description of the situation facilitates the work and saves time when negotiating with the other party. An agreement that reflects the actual situation and the parties’ intentions is predictable and easy to use.

Step 2: The process – drafting agreements and project applications

Here you will find a description of approaches and factors to consider when choosing a collaboration partner in connection with an international collaboration agreement.

Please note that for project applications, in addition to the following recommendations, there are specific management rules.

Choosing collaboration partners

  • Strategy and policy – Lund University’s strategic plan and the international policies of the faculties or departments are important factors for choosing a collaboration partner.
  • European or global agreements – Lund University strives for increasing collaboration outside Europe.
  • Equal partner – good match, profiling by partners
  • Strong research areas/education profile
  • Reputation and quality/ranking
  • Is there an existing agreement with the collaboration partner of choice?
  • Developing/formalising contacts with prioritised universities or networks
  • Developing or expanding ongoing collaboration
  • Demand from students/teaching staff/researchers
  • Internationalisation at home
  • Cultural perspectives, diversity
  • Other strategic considerations, e.g. other specific aims, solidarity, sustainability

Establishing support – negotiation

Factors to consider prior to deciding or amending the terms in an agreement:

  • First and foremost, internal support at the appropriate level: department/faculty/University
  • Agreements and EU projects may entail co-financing, which means that the department/faculty will have to provide partial funding
  • Costs – working hours, hidden costs, income, subsidies, etc.
  • What is to be achieved with the agreement?
  • Commitments – what obligations and rights shall the parties involved have?
  • Risks
  • Insurance
  • Administration
  • Who shall interpret the agreement in a conflict? (vice-chancellor’s clause)
  • How shall extensions/terminations be regulated?
  • Evaluation and follow-up (see below)

Formalising – who shall write your agreement/project application?

Collaboration agreements with other higher education or research institutions can be made at the University, faculty or department levels. The scope of the agreement and the partner’s organisational status will determine the level.

Authorised signatory for agreements/project applications

Who shall be listed as authorised signatories depends on the type of agreement/project application:

  • Application/agreement involving two or more faculties, or is university-wide (authorised signatory: Vice-Chancellor)
  • Application/agreement for joint programmes resulting in a joint degree or double degree (consortium agreement) (authorised signatory: Vice-Chancellor)
  • Application/agreement involving more than one department or an entire faculty (authorised signatory: Dean)
  • Application/agreement involving a department and less than SEK 800 000 (authorised signatory: Head of department)

From review and signature to a completed agreement/project application

The following five steps must be completed before the agreement/project application is finalised:

  1. Review: The parties concerned are to sign a review document that briefly presents in what way the aforementioned items have been considered in the drafting of the agreement.
  2. Signatures: The agreement/project application shall be signed by management according to the delegation rules.
  3. Registration: The agreement/project application, review document etc., are to be registered and archived by the department/faculty/division that houses the projects
  4. Copies of agreements: The person responsible for the agreement/project application provides copies for the External Relations division
  5. Registration in computer systems: The person responsible for the agreement/project application ensures that registration is done in the computer system

Step 3: Evaluation – quality assurance

Evaluation and possible renewals of agreements/project applications shall be conducted regularly by those who signed the agreement in consultation with the departments concerned, e.g. External Relations or the faculty/department involved.

Evaluation instruments

  • The strategic plan
  • The internationalisation policy
  • Faculty/department policies
  • Level of activity/balance in the agreement
  • Study results
  • Assessments of students/teaching staff/other involved parties
  • Side-effects for other activities, e.g. internationalisation at home, diversity
  • Other quality aspects, access to information, course syllabi, etc.
  • Are there requests for expanding the agreement to include other staff categories?

Grounds for renewing an agreement

If the evaluation shows a certain amount of positive factors.

Grounds for terminating an agreement

  • The evaluation shows poor results
  • Fixed-term agreement
  • Lack of reciprocity
  • No activity during the last few years/poor or no communication
  • Breach of agreement
  • Students do not meet the necessary language requirements
  • Lack of information from the collaboration partner

Read more about how to apply for project funding through international collaboration programmes

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