International Activities

As international collaborations continue to grow at MIT, it becomes increasingly important to identify as soon as possible any potential legal, financial or implementation issues that may be involved. The International Coordinating Committee (ICC) was established in 2012 to support these efforts. Its website and Top Ten Things to Consider will familiarize Principal Investigators and department administrators with the questions they should ask as they consider new international activities.

MIT has a long history of engaging in international research activities. The Global MIT website provides general information on a variety of international research and educational initiatives. Among the larger initiatives are:

These activities are built upon the foundation of MIT’s policies and procedures that govern all sponsored activities.

All proposals for sponsored international activities must be routed to Research Administration Services (RAS) or the Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer (OSATT) before submission, in accordance with current standard MIT procedures. Generally, RAS and/or OSATT will negotiate the agreements, and an authorized MIT signatory will execute them.

Be aware there are additional considerations for managing these activities at MIT:

  • In 2007, Provost Rafael Reif established an International Advisory Committee (IAC) to advance MIT’s core mission of teaching, research, and service abroad. The IAC provides a faculty voice on major international activity proposals, and Principal Investigators are encouraged to discuss any plans for international programs with the IAC Chair Fotini Christia.
  • If you are considering a project in, related to, or funded by a person or entity from China, Russia, or Saudi Arabia, it will need to go through an elevated risk review process. If your activity falls outside an established process or you are uncertain about how to proceed, please reach out to the ICC [email] for assistance. Please also visit the ICC website for additional resources for international activities.
  • U.S. export control regulations are more likely to be a concern when MIT collaborates with foreign organizations. Shipping materials, data, equipment, and other technologies may be governed by the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, or Energy. Making payments to individuals or transferring items or information to individuals may be restricted by several agencies, including the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Some research conducted by U.S. persons outside the U.S. may not qualify as fundamental research, and items, data and technology originating outside the US are subject to U.S. export controls when brought to the U.S., possibly resulting in restrictions to access and publication. Researchers should review the export control site and speak with the MIT export control officer regarding such activities.
  • Often, sponsors will have specific expectations - such as with publication or intellectual property - that differ from the ways in which U.S. industry and universities transact business. Therefore, it is important to get as much advance notice as possible in order to develop agreements that are appropriate for both parties. Contact Michael Leskiw [email], Alliance Manager in OSATT regarding questions about contracts with foreign entities.
    • Activities outside of the U.S., funding from foreign countries, or other details, may trigger additional tax or reporting requirements; contact VPF Global Operations for assistance with international tax, finance, or accounting questions.
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowships that meet certain requirements can be accepted at MIT. For details about the requirements please review the guidance.
  • Participants in international activities need to be familiar with the unusual requirements and risks of international travel. MIT has implemented a Travel Risk Policy to support well-informed travel decisions where there may be heightened health or safety risks. In addition, MIT has contracted with a travel assistance company to provide emergency medical and security services—you may review this information on International SoS.
  • Each year, MIT welcomes a large number of international visiting researchers, faculty, and lecturers who may be participating in one of our many international collaborations. The MIT International Scholars Office assists MIT faculty and staff in bringing these visitors to the MIT campus.
  • Faculty, principal investigators and program administrators are encouraged to consult with the ICC for planning and implementation considerations, and unusual terms and conditions in the early implementation stage of international projects to obtain the most effective support for their work.