Informal Collaborations

Informal collaborations (i.e., collaborations for which there is no written agreement and no required deliverables or funds exchanged) typically don’t go through MIT review processes. However, they can still leave researchers vulnerable to legal or financial penalties. 

Before engaging in informal collaborations with peers or entities in other countries – especially in elevated-risk countries – use the Informal International Collaborations (IIC) tool to seek advice on the increasingly complex federal laws, regulations, and agency requirements surrounding these collaborations. The VPR Compliance team will review each submitted collaboration and contact the researcher with any questions or concerns. Contact Research Compliance with specific questions, and review VPR guidance on assessing and mitigating risks.

Some collaborations may require additional steps:

  • If you are sharing research data or materials (either sending or receiving) with an outside party, go to to explore the need for a confidentiality, data use, or material transfer agreement to protect your data and your research.
  • If your informal collaborations— whether domestic or international— relate to research you are pursuing under a federal award, disclose these activities according to agency-specific guidance.