International Collaboration in Research & Scholarship

The ability to engage in open collaboration and  academic pursuits including research and scholarship is the hallmark of academe. Boston College  works to protect these collaborations and resulting intellectual property through transparency and by supporting and educating the faculty.

Federal agencies have asked researchers to become more vigilant in their disclosures of international research collaborations, affiliations, and activities to protect the integrity of U.S. research and intellectual property. As the Awardee, BC will work with faculty to provide clarity and management of these disclosures.  We are closely watching the guidance from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other agencies as they emerge. We encourage faculty to stay abreast of current agency regulations, best practices and BC guidance, some of which are outlined below.

Key Takeaways

Complete all sections  of grant proposals thoroughly, particularly  items related to foreign components.

Update funding agencies on new foreign engagements in your annual reporting.

Complete a financial conflict of interest disclosure at the time of proposal development.

Report all intellectual property to Boston College’s Office of Technology Transfer and Licensing (OTTL) to ensure protection. Always check with OTTL before receiving and sending materials both domestically and abroad.

Familiarize yourself with Boston College’s policies related to research agreements and export controls.

Make sure your Boston College Faculty annual report matches the information on your Biosketch.

If you are not sure if a particular international activity must be disclosed it is best to be as transparent as possible and seek guidance from your OSP representative.

Research Proposals

Federal grant proposals must be completed thoroughly and accurately. Inconsistencies and errors could jeopardize your funding opportunity or raise flags with federal fundings agencies. 

As a reminder, all proposals for external research support must be submitted through the Office for Sponsored Programs and awards should be made to the “Trustees of Boston College.” 

Guidelines from specific agencies related to “foreign influence” are outlined below.

NIH Guidelines

NSF Guidelines

While NSF has similar requirements to those of the NIH for reporting “Current and Pending Support”, there are differences in between the two agencies. “Current and Pending Support” is defined by the NSF as the support requested or available from all sources of project funding. The NSF particulars are as follows:

  • Gifts should not be reported. If there is effort associated with the gift, this should be reported as in-kind support.

  • In-kind contributions with time commitment and will not be used on the proposed project is not required to be reported.

  • In-kind support with time commitment/effort must be reported in the Current and Pending Support section. If there is no time commitment and the in-kind support will be used on the proposed project, this must be reported in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section.

  • Start-up funds received from BC are not required to be reported. If you receive start-up funds from another institution, that must be reported in Current and Pending Support.

  • As with NIH, your foriegn appointments and affiliations must be reported.

  • All current and pending support from whatever source (e.g., federal, state, local or foreign government agencies, public or private foundations, industrial or other commercial organizations, or internal funds allocated toward specific projects) must be listed. The proposed project and all other projects or activities requiring a portion of time of the PI and other senior personnel must be included, even if they receive no salary support from the project(s).


Researchers and Faculty must abide by Boston College’s finance-related policies. In order for Boston College to better support your research, you must be transparent about your collaborations and relationships.

Disclosure of Financial Interests

Faculty must disclose any income or travel reimbursements received from a foreign entity, including governments and academic institutions. For domestic activities,  faculty must disclose any income or travel reimbursements in excess of $5,000, including governments and academic institutions.

Gifts and Donations

As a reminder, the solicitation or acceptance of gifts for services rendered in the course of one's normal employment is prohibited.Gifts from domestic and foreign entities of more than nominal value (in excess of $100.00) from individuals or organizations with whom the University does business, or from those who hope to do business with the University in the future, are prohibited. Please refer to the Gift and Entertainment of the Professional Standards and Business Conduct -- General Policy.

Additional Considerations

  • Activity reports: Familiarize yourself with BC’s policy on external activites and complete your annual Faculty  Report thoroughly, including the forthcoming new sections on international employment, international support, and international patents.

  • Research agreements: You may not enter into any agreement whether informal or otherwise which restrict publication or the sharing of research results. Publication restrictions in research can only be negotiated by University officials who have delegated authority to accept contracts and grants.


  • Export control: You must comply with U.S. export control regulations when doing any of the following: traveling internationally and attending conferences, participating in international collaborations, using proprietary information, working with international staff and students, hosting international visitors, shipping materials internationally, or engaging in any international transactions. 

  • Intellectual property: To ensure that all intellectual property is protected and, when required, appropriately reported to sponsors, all BC employees are expected to promptly disclose intellectual property and any improvements or changes to existing intellectual property to BC Office Office of Technology Transfer and Licensing.


Frequently Asked Questions

Please use the following links to review the most up to date frequently ask questions from federal sponsors:

NIH Other Support and Foreign Component FAQ


If you have questions, please contact Sharon Comvalius-Goddard, Director, Office for Sponsored Programs at