I) a) Overview of the different kinds of co-operation
1) MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MoU)
Description: loose declaration of interest of two institutions who plan to co-operate in the future. A sub-category of these MoUs includes letters of intent which are exclusively signed for carrying out joint research projects in one subject area. In both cases, no funding from the university will be provided. The MoU shall simply show that the university is interested in that.
Activities: almost none (respectively: depends on the individual case; this can change)
Financial support from the University: none (as long as no specific activities are planned).
Perspectives for the future: all MoUs can be „activated“ at any time, e.g. by agreeing on regular student and staff (guest lecturer) exchanges, or by joint research projects. This has to be laid down in a detailed working programme, which has to be signed by the departmental co-ordinators of both universities and submitted to the International Relations Offices before final signature.
2) Co-operation agreements at subject area (department) level:
Description: Existing contacts of scientists in a specific subject area shall be expanded into joint activities in education of research. Through a co-operation agreement, these additional activities are strongly facilitated and fostered. At BOKU, such agreements are signed by the representative of the department in charge, after approval of the agreement text by the Center for International Relations (CIR) and acknowledgement of the Rectorate.
Activities: The co-ordinators of both institutions develop an annual working programme, that includes detailed activities. These co-ordinators (in co-operation with the CIR) are also in charge of the implementation of the working programme, and have to submit activity reports to the CIR.
Financial support from the university: contribution to certain activities (e.g. visits)
Perspectives for the future: This kind of agreements should be further developed into increased teaching staff exchanges (guest lecturers) and / or joint research projects; and if possible, such agreements should be amplified to other subject areas and finally reach the status of a university-wide co-operation agreement. In one subject area, different institutes have to be involved before such an agreement can be signed. Interdisciplinary joint projects planned will then be treated as a priority of the university.
3) University-wide co-operation agreements:
Description: Contacts to the potential partner university have to exist in at least in 2 departments / study programs, which both declare their interest to intensify the co-operation. The goal of the co-operation agreement is either structured exchange of students and staff (guest lecturers), or the joint development of study programmes / continuing education programs. In the majority of cases, university-wide co-operation agreements will be signed with Non-EU-universities, as within Europe the first priority is to sign bilateral ERASMUS agreements.There is at least one (main) departmental co-ordinator for each university-wide co-operation agreement; in some cases (e.g. when several study programs are concerned), there can be also additional departmental co-ordinators. The main departmental co-ordinator is in charge of developing an annual work plan (in co-operation with the CIR before signature), and an activity report at the end of each year which has to be submitted to the CIR.
Financial support from the university: according to the working programme, a certain budget from BOKU’s „international budget“ is reserved fort he activities planned in a university-wide co-operation agreement.
Advantages: activities are more focused, regular joint projects lead to an increase in “interconnection” between the two institutions and result in real synergies. Joint-Study-Exchange programs allow students to spend exchange semesters outside Europe without administrative hurdles.
Perspectives for the future: these kind of agreements can be further developed with regard to joint educational offers (regular study programs and continuing education). In connection with future Joint-Study-Exchange-Agreements, the idea is to further develop joint „semester packages“ / modules, which eventually lead to offering a complete joint curriculum which awards a double / joint degree.