Developing a Partnership or Activity

SFU International supports faculty and staff in developing new international partnerships and activities including:

  • Evaluating opportunities for partnerships and advising on the best legal tool to formalize the relationship;
  • Negotiating agreements;
  • Identifying new partners to support SFU initiatives;
  • Advising on the development of new international activities;
  • Supporting the submission of new international partnerships and/or activities for approval to the Senate Committee on International Activities (SCIA); and
  • Maintaining records for all international agreements that are subject to GP 23 and SCIA approval.

View SFU's existing partnerships and network memberships.

Where do I start?

If you are interested in developing a new international partnership or activity, please contact the appropriate SFU International regional manager:

Asia and South Pacific – Sarah Ngo 
Americas and Europe – Yukino Mori 
Africa, Central Asia and Middle East – Mirranda Cross

The development of a new partnership or activity typically follows these steps:

  1. Evaluate the activity and/or opportunity for partnership;
  2. Secure support from the sponsoring dean or head of unit;
  3. Negotiate the agreement and terms of collaboration with the partner;
  4. Present the agreement and/or activity to SCIA for approval;
  5. Proceed with signatures; and
  6. Initiate activity .

How long does it take to develop a new partnership?

This depends on a number of factors such as how developed the collaboration is, whether the collaboration has already secured support from the appropriate sponsors, the complexity of the negotiation with the partner, etc. While timelines vary, you should anticipate that the development of a new agreement may take 3-6 months.

Do I need approval to pursue a new partnership or activity?

Yes. International partnerships and activities at SFU are subject to the University Policy on International Activities (GP 23). All international activities and partnerships that are proposed in the name of the University must be submitted to the Senate Committee on International Activities before the activity can take place. If the activity is subject to other university policy, it must receive approval by the appropriate senate committee prior to being presented to SCIA. In addition, new partnership and activities must have the support of the appropriate dean or portfolio head.

Do I need an agreement?

Not all international activities require a formal agreement however, there are times when a formal agreement is necessary. For example, where the relationship commits the university to financial obligations or where it impacts the academic standards or programs such as student exchanges. SFU International staff can advise you on whether an agreement is necessary to support your collaboration.

What type of agreements are there?



Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

A non-binding expression of intent to collaborate. An MOU is used when a University or specific Faculty is seeking the collaboration. MOUs are umbrella agreement that have a broad scope and identify the range of activities that are possible under that collaboration.

Student Mobility Agreement (SMA)

A binding agreement that sets out of the terms of engagement to send and receive students to complete a learning experience (includes exchange, study abroad, coop, research and practicum placements)

2 + 2 Agreement

A binding agreement that sets out the terms of collaboration for receiving fee-paying students as transfer students into third year to complete an SFU undergraduate degree. 

Joint/Dual Degree Agreement

A binding agreement that sets out the terms of collaboration for collaborating with another institution in the delivery of a joint or a dual degree.

International Professional Services Agreement

A binding agreement outlining the contractual obligations between SFU or a unit of SFU and a service provider abroad for the purpose of completing an international activity.  

Study Abroad Agreement

A binding agreement that sets out of the terms of engagement to send OR receive students to complete a learning experience. These agreements are used to formalize unidirectional student mobility arrangements (typically fee-paying).

What happens after an agreement is signed?

The lead on the collaboration/activity and the sponsoring faculty/unit are responsible for the implementation of the agreement and for reporting requirements if any. In the case of student exchange agreements, International Services for Students has responsibility for the implementation of the exchange program and for annual negotiations of balances with the partner.

How about renewing agreements?

SFU International keeps track of all signed international collaboration agreements and monitors agreements that are due to expire. SFU International will work with the sponsoring faculty/unit to determine whether to proceed with a renewal and if there is interest in renewing, SFU International will negotiate a new agreement with the partner. Unless there have been substantive changes to the collaboration and agreement, renewals are not required to be submitted to SCIA for approval.

I have an international research collaboration, does SFU International negotiate research contracts?

Research contracts at SFU are negotiated by Research Services (RS). RS provides expertise in research administration and ensuring compliance with policies and procedures of the university and the sponsor. Research Services staff helps faculty members navigate through the full lifecycle of a research project, from pre-award application through post-award administration, to closeout.