Introducing Informal International Collaborations (IIC) tool

December 5, 2022
Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research | Richard Lester, Associate Provost |

Dear colleagues,

As you know, federal laws, regulations, and agency requirements surrounding collaborations with international peers and entities have become increasingly complex over the past several years. Because of ongoing global events and the geopolitical climate, this landscape continues to shift. We write today to let you know about a new resource to help you navigate this changing landscape.

While MIT has policies and procedures in place to identify and address potential issues surrounding formal international collaborations (grants, contracts, data use agreements, etc.), there is growing concern that certain informal collaborations, where there is no written agreement or exchange of funds, may leave MIT researchers vulnerable to unwanted scrutiny and, in some cases, legal or financial penalties. Tangible exports, exchange of information, and other interactions resulting from informal collaborations with certain entities may be in violation of export control regulations.

In order to help all MIT researchers navigate these complex issues while maintaining the relationships that are vital to scientific discovery and advancement, the Office of the Vice President for Research, in collaboration with the Office of the General Counsel, has created a new Informal International Collaborations (IIC) tool. By providing the information requested in the IIC tool, researchers can get the guidance needed to enter into or maintain existing collaborations, while fostering compliance with federal regulations and Institute policies.

Because these regulations and policies apply to all researchers, we also ask that you encourage your research staff, postdocs, and graduate students to use the tool.

Getting Started:

  • Access the tool at An MIT certificate is required.
  • Use the “+ New Collaboration” button to enter a current, past, or future international collaboration.
  • The VPR Compliance team will review each submitted informal international collaboration and contact you with any questions or concerns.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact, or visit the VPR website to find more information and resources regarding foreign engagements.


Maria T. Zuber
Vice President for Research

Richard Lester
Associate Provost