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Collaboration & International Engagement

The UT research community is committed to advancing research that makes life and lives better. Advancing knowledge while identifying solutions to society’s most complex challenges often requires the expertise and skills of researchers from multiple disciplines and domains, who come together to develop collaborative research strategies to realize their goals. Research collaborations take place within and across the UT research community, and with research partners at universities, private and public sector organizations in the US and around the world.

Collaboration in research activities allows researchers to expand their positive impacts and accomplish goals that might otherwise be unduly challenging. UT is deeply committed to fostering a culture of responsible research that supports collaboration both with colleagues inside the university and beyond. As with all research activities, there is an expectation that the collaborative relationship will evolve. Because successful collaboration is rooted in communication and shared understanding, researchers are encouraged to evaluate potential collaborative activities for these elements:

  • Mutual respect
  • Open communication and sharing unless restricted by a nondisclosure agreement or export control requirements
  • Complementary skills, resources, and efforts
  • Shared understanding of responsibilities and tasks
  • Shared understanding of data management
  • Frequent communication regarding research activities, changes in scope
  • A shared understanding of authorship expectations

UT is a globally engaged university and welcomes faculty, staff, students and postdoctoral fellows from around the world to its vibrant research community. The institution supports this world-class research community and their many productive international research collaborations while also complying with federal research security requirements.

  • International research collaborations may be formalized through memoranda of understanding (MOUs) or other similar documents, which are typically broad agreements with no exchange of funds. These arrangements are reviewed and supported by CGE’s Global Research Office, see global partnership agreements.
  • All proposals and sponsored research projects at UT, regardless of whether the sponsor is foreign or domestic, are administered through Cayuse and managed by the UTK Division of Research Administration (DRA)/UTIA Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).
  • All foreign organizations and foreign nationals engaged in a proposal or sponsored project must be identified on the Cayuse Export Control page, including UT researchers who are foreign nationals.
  • Proposal documents, such as biographical sketches, current & pending support, and resource documents must disclose the international support and affiliations of researchers engaged in the project, see details available here.
  • Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) identifying foreign organization or foreign national recipients must undergo compliance review by the Export Control office following submission to UTK DRA or UTIA OSP.
  • Some international collaborations are not prescribed in MOUs, sponsored projects, or MTAs. Biographical sketches and explanations of resources should be provided for international collaborators by Division of Research Integrity and Assurance. Arrangements should be vetted by our office (contact utkexportcontrol@utk.edu) and approved by the Department Head, Dean, or Provost.

The university’s Outside Interest Disclosure Form requires that UT researchers disclose their international outside affiliations and interests, including travel funded by international organizations and travel to certain countries, see Research Conflicts of Interest.

Research collaborators who are not UT students or employees may visit UT to engage in research for periods of a few hours to many months. A visiting researcher (e.g., faculty, staff, students, post-docs from another academic institution, industry collaborators, etc.) who is not enrolled at the university or on the university payroll, and who seeks access to UT’s laboratories or other similar research facilities for the purposes of engaging in research, must have a UT sponsor (typically, a UT faculty member). The UT sponsor is responsible for ensuring compliance with the UT Visitors Engaged in Research Policy (RE0002), which requires the submission of a Visitors Engaged in Research Packet at least 30 days prior to the visitor’s arrival at UT.

 

Determine if Visitor Information Packet will be needed – See Decision Tree, Does the Visitors Engaged in Research Policy Apply?, and FAQ. Questions should be directed to visitingresearcher@utk.edu.

Please Note:

  • Packet will be processed at the same time – and separate from – their visa and any departmental preparation/on-boarding processes.
  • If during the process any condition changes, such as the planned stay increases to more than 10 business days, revisit the Flowchart to see if packet is still needed.

If needed, download Visitor Information Packet and begin immediately, so that all answers can be completed and departmental approvals received in time to submit on OneDrive at least 30 days prior to visit. See Packet Completion Instructions and Timeline.

Get departmental approvals of Packet (visitor, Faculty Sponsor, department head, and Departmental Business Manager).

Definitions:

  • UT Faculty Sponsor – A university employee with “regular” employment status as defined in policy HR0105 who proposes a visitor.
  • Departmental Business Manager – The individual designated as the department business manager or equivalent of an academic department or business unit without regard to the job title of the employee, or such individual’s designee.

Departmental Business Manager uploads the Packet, including required attachments* to OneDrive at least 30 days prior to visit. In order for processing to not be delayed, be sure all answers are complete, attachments are included, and departmental approvals are in place before uploading Packet.

  • *For CV/Resume, visa, or work eligibility documents, use the following file naming convention:
    • Faculty Sponsor Name (last)_Visiting Researcher Name (last, first)_Date Uploaded (MMDDYYYY).
      • Example: Smith_JonesFred_11032022
  • Contact visitingresearcher@utk.edu with any questions or concerns.

For domestic visitors, the Departmental Business Manager requests HR perform background check.

The Division of Research Integrity & Assurance will conduct visitor screening and route for compliance reviews.

An approved Packet will be filed on OneDrive and a copy sent to the Departmental Business Manager.

After receiving the signed Visitor Information Packet, the Departmental Business Manager should enter the Visitor into IRIS as a Friend, Subcategory – Visiting Researcher.

For help deciding if the Visitors Engaged in Research Policy is applicable, please use this decision tree. Additional questions about the policy and procedures can be directed to Sarah Pruett at spruett1@utk.edu.

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Questions about engaging in research collaborations with foreign organizations or foreign nationals? Contact Sarah Pruett at spruett1@utk.edu.