As you begin to develop a proposal that involves an international collaboration, you should be aware of a few important considerations related to the proposal development, submission and award process.

Unique costs

When developing a new proposal, you should consider some of the unique costs associated with global research, including the following:

  • Translation services (reports, invoices/receipts, surveys, etc.)
  • Training
  • Shipping costs related to supplies, equipment or other goods to/from the international location(s)
  • Travel expenses
  • Communication expenses (e.g., cell phone and calling plans, internet access fees)
  • Wire transfer fees and currency conversion losses
  • Employment agency fees (Please consult Staffing in a Foreign Location to determine if employment agency vendor fees should be incorporated into the budget.)
  • Unique costs for operating at the foreign site (e.g., costs related to transportation issues)

Agency policies and guidelines should be reviewed to determine how to budget direct and indirect costs for consultants, vendors and subawards. Consult agency guidelines as personnel may be required by some funding agencies to be registered in their web portals:


Careful planning and realistic expectations for timelines are critical for starting and completing an international research project. As you begin to plan your global project, keep in mind the following advice from the OVCR:

  • At the proposal development stage, allow for extra time for activities such as completion of sponsor forms (e.g., getting a biosketch from your international collaborator).
  • At the award stage, additional time should be planned to allow for any subawards or consulting agreements to be finalized; completion of education requirements such as human subjects education or FCOI education.
  • During execution of the project, the project timeline should allow ample time to complete the research.  This may include delays in obtaining visa approvals, compliance approvals, obtaining permits, etc.
  • Consider time zones for communications and required deadlines to ensure information is received early enough to meet project or proposal deadlines.

Common pitfalls

Avoid some of the common pitfalls in getting you research proposal involving international subrecipients submitted or awarded.

COI Disclosure & Education

WashU is responsible for ensuring that its subrecipients can meet the federal regulatory requirements for conflicts of interest.  Many international collaborators do not have an established, compliant policy, and so choose to follow WashU’s policy.  In that case, the international collaborator must both provide a COI disclosure and complete FCOI education in Learn@Work.  A common delay in enabling the award set-up is failure by international collaborators to complete the FCOI disclosure education.

Unique Entity ID (UEI)

Subrecipients must have a Unique Entity ID (UEI). Subrecipients can register in and will be assigned their UEI. Note that registering for a UEI is not the same as completing a full registration at 

Foreign collaborators

Some resources are available to help foreign collaborators develop biosketches and other documents requested by funding agencies.

Do you need help deciding if your foreign collaborator is a subrecipient or consultant on your project?

Consult the OVCR’s guidelines on Distinguishing Between Subaward, Vendor, and Consultant.