Developing a Memorandum of Understanding

Developing a Memorandum of Understanding

This procedure is designed to be used by University of Glasgow staff intending to develop an MoU with an international institution.

What is an MoU?

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is used to show intent of collaboration without yet committing to specific activities. It does not technically represent a binding agreement but often signals the intention of working towards one. It should be considered a formalisation of a relationship, and often provides an opportunity to agree mutual goals and intent. Consequently, the quality of the institution with which the MoU will be signed is important and has to be considered, to ensure that it is suitable for the intended partnership and developments. >> Memorandum of Agreement: definition

Development /approval process for intended international partnerships

Step 1: Initial research / Reputational check

Initial research

Before taking any steps you should carry out some preliminary discussions to ensure that your proposed MoU will be suitable for consideration. Use this time to establish that the quality and reputation of the other organisation(s) is such that it is a suitable relationship to take forward for the intended activity.

Academic staff should discuss their proposal with:

Reputational check

Is there a pre-existing University relationship?

Contact the International Affairs Team in External Relations and ask them to provide an Institutional Feedback Form (IFF) on your proposed partner. This due diligence will establish

  • whether the University has a pre-existing relationship and/or agreement with the intended partner or
  • reputational information on the intended partner institution to check that it is a suitable relationship to take forward for the intended activity. 

The relevant manager within External Relations will sign off the IFF (support or not). 


Step 2: Complete the MoU Proposal Form

Download and complete the MoU Proposal Form:

Obtain approval signatures

The Institutional Feedback Form along with the completed MoU Proposal Form should be signed off to certify that:

  • the relevant Dean for Global Engagement * considers the quality and reputation of the intended partner is appropriate for the intended activity.
  • the College International Dean confirms that the proposal is in alignment with College strategy and has the support of the Head of College.
  • a member of the College Executive (E.g. Head of School/Research Institute Director) signs to confirm that the proposal aligns with College strategy, and supports its development.

* Where the proposal is from a Dean for Global Engagement, the consultation should take place with the Vice Principal (Internationalisation). 

Signed forms

Submit signed MoU proposal forms to the International Affairs Team


Step 3: Approval and drafting the MoU

Approval from Vice Principal (Internationalisation)

The Vice Principal (Internationalisation) considers the MoU Proposal Form together with the Institutional Feedback Form and, if appropriate, signs to confirm University approval.

Drafting the MoU

The MoU is drafted by the International Affairs Team using the standard University of Glasgow MoU template. The team will also liaise directly with the partner to agree the final wording of the agreement.


Step 4: Signing and return for recording

Obtain signatures 

Once agreement on the content of the MoU is reached, two copies should be signed and witnessed by the partner institution and the Vice Principal at the University of Glasgow. International Relations can arrange for the VP signature in Glasgow.

Final agreement

One of the original paper copies of the document is given to the partner institution and the other is sent to the Academic Collaborations Office. The International Relations team should be informed when the agreement is signed and it will be recorded on the MoU database.