Drafting agreements and project applications
GUIDANCE AND ADVICE TO HELP YOU ASSURE THE QUALITY OF THE PROCESS OF DRAFTING AGREEMENTS
For agreements requiring the vice-chancellor’s signature
With the aim of ensuring that the University upholds current agreements and collaborations, the vice-chancellor wants the deans of the relevant faculties to approve such agreements before he signs them. If the agreement involves more than one faculty, the agreement coordinator at External Relations is to gather the approval from the deans concerned. Once the deans have approved the agreement, the documents are to be handed over to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.
Please contact the programme officers at External Relations to schedule the vice-chancellor’s signature and to find out when documentation needs to be made available to External Relations.
Please contact Fredrik Klintberg fredrik [dot] klintberg [at] er [dot] lu [dot] se if you need templates for supporting documents.
Links to the different steps in the process
- Choosing collaboration partners
- Establishing support – negotiation
- Formalising – who shall write your agreement/project application?
- Authorised signatory for agreements/project applications
- From review and signature to a completed agreement/project application
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.
You can also find out whether you can collaborate through our already established networks.
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.
- The process
- Evaluation and quality assurance
- 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
- Mobility agreements: Students, doctoral students, teaching staff, researchers, technical/administrative staff
- Project agreements: for example EU collaboration projects that are often regulated through consortium agreements
- Programme agreements: for example EU international programmes in education, regional or international collaboration programmes
- Other agreements: SANORD, Swedish Development Cooperation, UN, 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.
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.
- 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, for example other specific aims, solidarity, sustainability
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?
- Who shall interpret the agreement in a conflict? (vice-chancellor’s clause)
- How shall extensions/terminations be regulated?
- Evaluation and follow-up (see below)
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.
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)
The following five steps must be completed before the agreement/project application is finalised:
- 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.
- Signatures: The agreement/project application shall be signed by management according to the delegation rules.
- Registration: The agreement/project application, review document etc., are to be registered and archived by the department/faculty/division that houses the projects
- Copies of agreements: The person responsible for the agreement/project application provides copies for the External Relations division
- Registration in computer systems: The person responsible for the agreement/project application ensures that registration is done in the computer system
Evaluation and possible renewals of agreements/project applications shall be conducted regularly by those who signed the agreement in consultation with the departments concerned, for example External Relations or the faculty/department involved.
- 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, for example 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?
If the evaluation shows a certain amount of positive factors.
- 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
Contact Fredrik Klintberg if you need the template documents to, for example, sign agreements or MoUs.