Developing a Memorandum of Understanding

This procedure is for 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. 

Colleagues are reminded to contact relevant Heads of School/Heads of Service to ensure appropriate support and approval of MoU proposal prior to submission of proposal form.


Initial research

Initial research

Carry out 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.

Prior to submission, academic staff should discuss their proposal with:

Proposal development

Should you decide to take the proposal forward following your initial research, you will be expected to take on the role of 'proposer’ for the MoU.  This involves:

  • Overseeing the development of the MoU
  • Liaising with the partner about the details of the agreement
  • Monitoring activity relating to the MoU throughout its duration 

Your next step is to download and complete the MoU Proposal Form

At this point, please complete Parts 1 and 2 of the Proposal Form only. This should then be returned to the International Affairs Team who will use this information to carry out the necessary due diligence. 


Due Diligence

Once you have completed and returned Parts 1 and 2 of the MoU Proposal Form, the Recruitment and International Relations Team will carry out due diligence on your proposed partner.

Obtain approval signatures

Obtain approvals 

Once the due diligence has been completed, you can seek approval at College level (1st signatory in Part 3 of the Proposal Form).

This can then be returned to the International Affairs Team who will obtain approval from the regional and from the regional Dean for Global Engagement and the Vice Principal, External Relations (2nd and 3rd signatories in Part 3 of the Proposal Form).

The above signatures are required to ensure the following:

  • the College International Dean or Head of College confirms that the proposal is in alignment with their College strategy and has the support of the College.
  • the regional Dean for Global Engagement* considers the quality and reputation of the intended partner is appropriate for the intended activity.
  • the Vice Principal, External Relations** considers to the proposal and intended partner suitable for the University and in line with our overall goals and objectives.

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

** Whilst MoUs are typically reviewed and signed off by the Vice Principal, External Relations, this can be done by any Vice-Principal. This should be done however, in consultation with the International Affairs Team.

Drafting the MoU

The MoU is drafted by the International Affairs Team using the standard University of Glasgow MoU template.

The proposer should then liaise directly with the partner to agree the final wording of the agreement, in consultation with the International Affairs Team.

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. The International Affairs Team can arrange for the Vice Principal signature in Glasgow.

Final agreement

One of the original paper copies of the document is given to the partner institution and the other the other paper copy should be returned to the International Affairs team for recording purposes.