International Projects Guidance

Guidance for International Projects   

Effective Date: November 16, 2011
Revision Date: none
PDF Version:Guidance for International Projects

Harvard’s extensive global presence is growing. The University encourages this growth in worldwide research, teaching, and learning and expects it to accelerate. As global mobility increases, communications barriers continue to decline, and the quality of higher education rises around the world, Harvard faculty and students are and should be developing international partnerships and pursuing teaching and research opportunities the world over. Though they have always done so, they are doing so today in unprecedented numbers.

Harvard’s effort to support academic work outside the United States follows two principles: (1) barriers to global work should be low and (2) the risks to the University and its schools, faculty, students, and staff that arise in the course of conducting international work should be managed effectively.  The University’s goal is to allow Harvard faculty and students to pursue important and interesting academic questions wherever they might lead, while enjoying the support of institutional structures that mitigate risk.  Achieving that goal requires recognition that international projects present challenges and risks along with opportunities.

With this document, the Office of the Provost intends to provide faculty and administrators with clear, simple guideposts to major operational risks overseas, so that they may mitigate those risks with minimal impact on their underlying academic goals.  Harvard’s new Global Support Services (, created in 2011 within the Department of Campus Services to provide tools and guidance on international business operations, is available to help schools, faculty, and staff complete their projects within the bounds of these rules.

The shaping principle for these rules is that Harvard policies and procedures, and the laws of the United States and the host country, must be followed.

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