Photo for international engagement

The University of Iowa is committed to engaging in research with collaborators from around the globe, working together to foster scholarship, develop new projects and research, and serve the public. Simultaneously we are committed to safeguarding our research and scholarship, intellectual property and institutional data. Through promoting transparency and using sophisticated systems to secure data, the University will continue to work with international partners in the pursuit of new knowledge while fully complying with the federal regulations and guidelines that govern research and scholarship.


Disclosures of international collaborations can appropriately occur in multiple areas of research and scholarship activity.  The University of Iowa’s research administration and compliance offices can assist researchers to identify and report their international collaborations following federal requirements and institutional policies.  

Click on the relevant topic below for further guidance.



Every sponsor has its own requirements regarding international collaboration. It is imperative that you read the following:

  • Funding announcement
  • Application instructions
  • Notice of award

Most federal sponsors require disclosure of international collaboration in the following documents:

  • Proposal
  • Biosketch
  • Support documents (all Senior and Key Personnel’s information about their Current and Pending, or Other Support whether paid or unpaid, foreign and domestic)
  • Progress reports (RPPRs)

Most federal sponsors require prior approval to add a foreign collaborator or foreign travel after the award is made (foreign collaborator or travel were not included in the funded proposal).

Also keep in mind the following when planning your research proposals:

The Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) can assist with questions related to sponsor requirements and is the University of Iowa office that will contact the sponsor regarding prior approvals.

To keep up with news pertaining to sponsor requirements and University of Iowa policies and procedures in the arena of externally funded research, sign up for the DSP Research Administration Dispatch.



National Institutes of Health (NIH)


National Science Foundation (NSF)



While academics and researchers in the United States engage eagerly with their colleagues abroad in the service of advancing knowledge, there is a growing awareness of and concern about the potential for governments of other countries to attempt to influence American research by taking advantage of the open nature of academia. The Federal Government has become concerned about loss of data and intellectual property. The University of Iowa is committed to protecting our research assets while remaining open and welcoming to invaluable collaboration with global academia.

The United States Federal Government, as a sponsor providing funding to The University of Iowa for its research mission, offers guidance related to concerns of foreign influence in research. Below are selected relevant letters from agencies and organizations that provide background on this concern. Contact the Division of Sponsored Programs with any questions about a particular sponsor or funding opportunity. 



To offer support as you negotiate the complexities of complying with policies, best practices, and regulations related to international collaboration, the following University of Iowa offices have established procedures and guidelines. In each section you will find contact information for the different offices from which you may request further information or assistance at any stage of your project.


Proposals and External Research (Contract and Grant) Funding Questions

The Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) can assist with proposal preparation, including questions related to specific sponsor and funding announcement requirements.  DSP also reviews and negotiates grant award notices and research related agreements including funding agreements, material transfer agreements, data transfer and use agreements, confidentiality agreements, and outgoing subawards.  

DSP can assist with questions related to sponsor requirements and is the University of Iowa office that will contact the sponsor regarding prior approval requests.

  • Division of Sponsored Programs: / 319-335-2123
  • Routing Policy Click
  • Principles Governing Access to Research Information Click
  • Policy and Procedures on Gifts, Grants, and Contracts Click
  • Guidance on sharing data and data use agreements Click


Charging Expenses

The Grant Accounting Office (GAO) offers extensive guidance on costing considerations related to external funding.    

For information related directly to charging travel to sponsored projects, see this page. International travel and Fly America regulations may require additional information or consideration to determine allowability.


Conflict of Interest in Research

The University of Iowa’s Conflict of Interest in Research (COIR) policy requires individuals to disclose all financial interests related to their institutional responsibilities through the eCOI Disclosure System.  The policy applies to all individuals involved in research at the University, regardless of job title, who contribute significantly to the planning, performance, and reporting of research, and who are granted considerable freedom in using independent judgment.

The Conflict of Interest in Research Office can answer questions about the appropriate disclosure of financial interests, the eCOI system,  and how such interests might impact research.  Questions should be sent to or can also be addressed to Martha Hedberg / 319-384-4256 or Christopher Taylor / 319-467-1012


Conflicts of Commitment and Interest Policies

The University of Iowa Conflict of Commitment (COC) policy requires individuals to disclose certain outside professional activities  and other external activities to their DEO or equivalents in advance of initiating that activity. The policy applies to all full-time regular University of Iowa faculty members, including administrators with faculty appointments.

Your department/college may have additional requirements regarding the reporting and management of conflicts of commitment. The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost provides a comprehensive list of conflicts of commitment and interest policies, e.g., Purchasing, Health Care, Employment, and Workplace, at The University of Iowa. Contact your departmental administration or appropriate office with questions.


Travel Policies

For international travel policies and related information visit the Purchasing, Accounts Payable & Travel website. This website includes details related to the Fly America Act, the University of Iowa Foreign Travel Policy and per diem rates, and other pertinent information related to international travel.

Generally, when scheduling international travel that is federally funded, all flights, where possible, must be scheduled on U.S. flag air carriers or on foreign air carriers that code-share with a U.S. flag air carrier. Foreign travel on externally funded projects often requires specific sponsor approval.  Review sponsor guidance and award notices  carefully and contact the Division of Sponsored Programs for assistance requesting such prior approval.

It is very important to address the security of laptops and other devices when traveling overseas. Be mindful that unsecured wireless connections can be intercepted easily, putting your device’s data at risk. The University of Iowa Information Technology Services Department has guidance on their page. In addition, you can contact them for help in maintaining data security abroad. The ITS rental service offers laptop rentals for conferences, travel, and other purposes.

Information Technology Travel Checklist: What to be aware of when planning and going on a business trip.


Visiting Scholars and Faculty

For assistance in welcoming international Visiting Scholars and Visiting Professors to the University, contact International Programs and the International Students and Scholars Services unit at this link.


International Linkages, Partnerships, and Student Exchanges

Formalized relationships with international universities and institutions can bring a wide range of educational benefits, enabling faculty and students from here and abroad to study and conduct research at each other's institutions. International Programs manages a central resource to support University of Iowa units that seek to establish meaningful institution-to-institution relationships for the benefit of University of Iowa students, staff, and faculty. For assistance with new and ongoing linkages and partnerships with foreign universities and institutions as well as student exchange agreements, contact International Programs at this link.


Export Controls and Restricted Party Screenings

Studies involving export-controlled technology require additional review and may require additional compliance steps, which are available at the Export Control Management Program webpage. Federal regulations are complex and each case is unique. The Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) is available to interpret the policies and to assist with compliance issues. When submitting a proposal or contract request, allow time to perform Restricted Party Screenings on foreign sponsors and subrecipients. If you are not certain whether this applies to your study, please contact a DSP Export Control Coordinator for guidance.


Invention Reporting

Inventions should be reported to the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF). UIRF is responsible for protecting and commercializing inventions by University of Iowa employees in accordance with the University of Iowa intellectual property policies. Filling out the disclosure form will begin the UIRF’s formal evaluation, protection, and commercialization process. UIRF will work with the inventor throughout the process.


Outgoing Subawards to International Partners

The Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) manages outgoing subawards.

If your project will involve an international subaward, consider the following:

  • Identify subawards at proposal stage
  • Allow time for the Outgoing Subaward Conflict of Interest in Research Form (formerly Form B)* completion and review if needed
    • *Subrecipient Conflict of Interest compliance for PHS and NSF funded projects
  • Note that sponsor approval is generally required for international subawards
  • At award stage, allow additional time for issuing subawards to foreign collaborators, taking note of necessary additional approvals, Restricted Party Screenings, and the time difference in business hours between the U.S. and foreign countries


IT and Data Security

Information Technology Services (ITS) offers a wide range of technologies and services to enable research and scholarly work at the University of Iowa. Services available include high-performance computing, research data storage, secure data management, and assistance with specific project IT security needs. If you’re interested in utilizing technology in your research but uncertain which service might be the best fit for your project, ITS offers consultation for researchers. Technologists can work with you on grant applications, or to identify the best IT solution for projects that require developing new capabilities or combining resources from two or more of our existing services in a novel way. If you have further questions, please contact Research Support at  

Many funding sponsors have specific IT security requirements related to sponsored projects. Contact the Division of Sponsored Programs (, 319-335-2123) with questions about specific IT security requirements related to your externally funded project. Generally the Division of Sponsored Programs connects the UI project director with UI Information Technology Security regarding these requirements.


International Engagement Town Hall Series 

The Office of the Vice President for Research hosted this series on topics relating to international engagement in research.

Town Hall on Foreign Influence in Research (Conflict of Interest/Conflict of Commitment) (October 28, 2020)

Town Hall on Foreign Influence in Research (Non-NIH Disclosure Requirements) (October 20, 2020)

Town Hall on Foreign Influence in Research (NIH Disclosure Requirements) (October 19, 2020)

Town Hall on Foreign Influence in Research (October 10, 2020)

International Research at The University of Iowa (November 19, 2019)


Additional Guidance

NSF Research Security Click

NCURA video: "What is Foreign Influence and What is Changing?" (March 8, 2021) Click

Reminder to disclose instances of international collaboration (March 2, 2021) Click

Vice President for Research stresses importance of disclosing foreign research activities (February 17, 2020) Click

Memo relating to export controls from Vice President for Research J. Martin Scholtz (January 1, 2020) Click

Message from Interim Vice President for Research John Keller (May 1, 2019) Click

Memo about foreign interests from Interim Vice President for Research John Keller (December 12, 2018) Click