Joint Research Office for Contracts (JROC)

The Joint Research Office for Contracts (JROC) oversees the process for research agreements, including those listed below.

  • Collaboration agreements (around a specific research proposal/project, with a defined scope for collaboration)
  • Clinical Trial Agreements
  • Confidentiality Agreements
  • Data Transfer Agreements
  • Incoming Subawards

For more information, contact

Office of Sponsored Research Services (OSRS)

The Office of Sponsored Research Services (OSRS) oversees the process for outgoing subawards. For more information, contact

Frequently asked questions

What agreements do I need for my international project?

A number of research agreements, financial and non-financial, may be entered into as part of a foreign collaboration or international research.  Please contact your department research administrator and/or the Joint Research Office for Contracts (JROC) with questions or to discuss which form of agreement is the most appropriate for your specific international research project. 

What is an MOU and when do I need a Research Agreement instead of an MOU?

See Types of Partnerships for MOU definition and guidance.

I want to engage an international collaborator as a subawardee on my grant. How can I expedite getting my subaward finalized?

Uniform Guidance under 2 CFR 200 requires WashU (as the “Pass-Through Entity” or “PTE”) to perform a risk assessment of all outgoing subawards and have a process of monitoring to further mitigate potential risks after award. Essentially, WashU has to perform the same review, evaluation, and due diligence functions that a federal agency would do prior to issuing an award to that entity.

Subawards to international collaborators should include detailed information describing the activities of the collaborator. It is critical that sufficient information about the scope of work to be performed by the international collaborator be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Research Services (OSRS). A frequent cause of delay in finalizing subawards to international collaborators is due to lack of sufficient details. For more information on what should be included in a scope of work, see this Subawards Process Summary document. Additionally, detailed budgets must be included in the subagreement for medium- and high-risk category subrecipients. 

Sponsor approval of subrecipients may be required if the subrecipient was not named in the application. Fixed Fee payment type subawards require federal agency prior approval, and cannot exceed $250,000.

Many foreign subawardees will often opt to follow WashU conflict of interest policies, which requires the PI/Dept to establish contingent worker profiles, submission and review of disclosures, and completion of FCOI education prior to being able to fully execute the subaward. 

It is important to remember that the subawards process takes time to complete. This process starts after the investigator has received their award and the award has been profiled by Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA). It is important to manage expectations with your international collaborators regarding when they can expect to receive a payment under a subaward. If you plan to begin paying an international collaborator prior to a subaward being finalized, it is critical that you work with your department administrator and SPA to ensure this is acceptable and that another source of departmental funds can be used. 

What are some of the issues that must be addressed in a research agreement with an international collaborator?

There must be a clear scope of work that describes what the international collaborator is responsible to accomplish.  If there are milestones or other deadlines that must be met, those should be communicated to the collaborator.  Suggest that the international collaborator provide tasks-driven scope of work and budget broken out by task, as opposed to a summary budget by year. 


If your collaborator is a subrecipient, the award requires that certain terms and regulations be passed through to the subrecipient, whether domestic or foreign.  The foreign collaborator may need assistance reviewing or interpreting sponsor policies and regulations. 


Subawards are generally issued with cost-reimbursement payment terms to a foreign subrecipient.  Other types of research agreements may involve payments that become due as project goals or milestones are met.  Federal agency approval may be required to issue a fixed price subaward under a federal award.  If a fixed price subaward is preferred, we recommend requesting within the proposal to the prime federal funding agency that WashU have approval to issue a fixed price award to the international subawardee.  Fixed price awards with payment tied to the receipt of a known deliverable is a way to mitigate some risk, and makes invoicing less problematic of the subawardee. 

I want to provide advance payments to my foreign collaborator’s institution/entity. How can I do that?

In circumstances where an advance payment is necessary, generally due to the subrecipient lacking sufficient capital, it is critical to work with Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA) and OSRS SUBS team early to discuss and develop a plan.  In some cases, departmental cost-share accounts may be established by SPA to allow for advance payments to be issued to the international collaborator.  OSRS can assist with the Subaward Scope of Work; it must have an incremental payment schedule defined, with required expense reporting provided prior to additional payments.