“Globalization requires us to reinvent everything - to think of ourselves as compared to others.”
“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.”
Ideas know no borders. If research with global partners were not an important strategic aim of McCormick, it would be an unavoidable one. World-class research depends upon collaborations in the worldwide marketplace of talents and ideas. Fortunately, McCormick has a long history of international activity, and its breadth is growing.
Today’s engineers must think globally, and opportunities for research with partners around the world have never been greater — or more pressing. McCormick is committed to assisting all of its scholars (faculty, postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates) in developing a range of research collaborations worldwide. The Dean’s Office houses key contacts that can assist scholars in developing international research collaborations and programs:
The University also houses offices that can provide assistance/information:
For reasons of both programmatic strategy and business management, it is important that the McCormick Dean’s Office be aware of international collaborations in the school, whether formal or informal, funded or unfunded, research-oriented or education-oriented.
Informal and formal international research collaborations are critical to the success of the school in building global partnerships. Informal collaborations typically include the exchange of information and ideas between faculty members at different institutions in different countries and/or faculty visits to foreign institutions for lecturing or research.
Informal research collaborations among faculty members across the globe may become more formalized if their institutions agree to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU),. It’s important to note that MOUs go beyond the laboratories and research programs of faculty members and formally commit the institutions to the collaboration. Memorandums of Understanding document the desire of the institutions to work together to achieve mutual goals in research, education, public outreach and/or other common aims. MOUs typically establish unfunded research collaborations.
Collaborative research proposals and subcontracts involve an extramural sponsor. Extramural sponsors are governmental agencies, industry or foundations that fund research, education or other activity. (See “Identifying international funding opportunities” for more information.) Collaborative research proposals typically include a formal, detailed budget agreed to by an investigator’s institution. When a collaborative research proposal is funded, subcontracts are often issued from the lead project institution to the collaborating institutions. A subcontract legally confers responsibility and funding for part of a sponsored project from one institution to another.
At Northwestern, the Provost’s Office signs MOUs,and the Office for Sponsored Research signs research proposals and subcontracts.
The identification of international funding opportunities at Northwestern is facilitated by InfoEd’s Sponsored Programs Information Network (SPIN).
To begin a broad search for overseas funding opportunities, one might type, for example, “International” or “Global” into the SPIN search field at the above link and choose for the search to include either the “Full Program” or “Titles Only.” (The “Program” is the solicitation, the typically paragraph-long description of the funding opportunity.)
To narrow results, and/or conduct a highly specific inquiry, click on “Advanced Search.”
For assistance using SPIN, the NUIT Support Center at 847-491-HELP (4357), option 6, or email email@example.com.
After a McCormick investigator identifies an international sponsored program and/or an international project team, a formal funding application to the sponsor may be submitted through Northwestern University.
The first step in submitting a formal funding application is to notify the McCormick research administrator (RA) in the project principal investigator’s department or unit. The RA will then notify the Dean’s Office and Northwestern’s Office for Sponsored Research (and other cognizant offices) of the opportunity and the deadline. Please note that OSR is the only institutional office authorized to negotiate with any sponsor on behalf of the University. Other institutional offices may also need to be notified or consulted depending on the nature of the proposal.
Vinayak Dravid, McCormick global coordinator, may additionally be of assistance to investigators developing international programs.
Summary considerations for proposals requesting support for international activity include:
For more information, see “Operating Guidelines for International Sponsored Activities” on the Office for Sponsored Research web site.
Because of the complex issues that can emerge in international sponsored projects, it is advisable for the McCormick principal investigator to contact his/her departmental RA as soon as he/she considers proposing such a project.
An organized formal proposal submission typically results in an international sponsored project that is predictable to manage. Unexpected issues can arise, however, and any of the above-referenced offices can provide resources to investigators. An investigator’s first point of contact for the management of international research projects is the McCormick research administrator for the principal investigator’s department or unit. Depending on the nature of the issue, the research administrator may then communicate with other school or university offices as necessary.
As a McCormick investigator achieves success with his/her international sponsored project, the McCormick marketing department can help publicize it, which reflects well on the investigator, the team, the department, McCormick, and Northwestern. International projects have particular appeal for various McCormick constituents (faculty, staff, alumni, potential donors, etc.), as international projects epitomize the school’s missions in research, education and public outreach. International projects also show McCormick’s commitment to intellectual leadership and economic development on a global scale.