How to formalize collaboration?

Checklist for formalising collaboration - ELRHA

Key questions (ELRHA p. 25-27):

What are the benefits and costs of formalizing the relationship through a written agreement?

  • Example of benefits (e.g. shared document with objectives and expectations on each side, gives weight to a collaborative partnership, formal framework for managing funding, costs and other inputs etc.)
  • Example of costs (e.g. negotiation time for staff involved, administration time for meetings, financial and accounting staff time etc.)


What type of formal document is appropriate?

  • Introduction of different possibilities such as MoU versus project agreement


What does an agreement need to cover?

  • Check list on what the document should include
  • Practical issues to agree on e.g. costs, VAT, intellectual property rights, security, data and future use. 

What shall be included in a formalized agreement?

What shall be included in a formalized agreement? (ELRHA p.27):

  • Agreed partnership principles and values
  • Clear roles for each organization
  • Ways of working
  • What success would look lie, outputs and outcome of the collaboration
  • Institutional commitment and contribution to the collaboration
  • Agreement to adhere to each institution’s ethical codes
  • Relationship with the funder and management of the head contracts
  • How the collaboration will be represented, who will be the spokespeople and where the collaboration will be showcased
  • Process of adapting to change including new opportunities and negotiating any difficulties


Partnership Agreement Tool – WWF

Example of a partnership agreement that includes (WWF 2012:12-15):

1.     Statement of Intent

2.     Parties involved

3.     Objectives of the partnership

4.     Values and principles

5.     Mutual trust and respect

6.     Description of partnership

7.     Transactions

8.     Timescale

9.     Obligations /responsibilities of each party

10.  Roles

11.  Sharing information

12.  Confidentiality

13.  Decision-making

14.  Sign-off procedure

15.  Financial issues

16.  Access

17.  Naming rights

18.  Reporting

19.  Monitoring progress

20.  Evaluation

21.  Exit strategy

22.  Opportunities to develop and expand

23.  Bringing into disrepute

24.  Conflict resolution

25.  Definition of terms


Sample Partnering Agreement

Format that includes clauses on (The Partnering Initiative Toolbook p.45):

  • Statement of intent
  • Structures and procedures
  • Resources
  • Audit
  • Review
  • Revisions
  • Caveats