MOUs, charters, and documents outlining operating principles help articulate shared goals, stakeholder roles and responsibilities, and governance and operational issues. These documents typically answer the following questions:
- Goals: What research areas will the partnership focus on, and toward what end?
- Roles: Who needs to be engaged as a partner to develop, maintain, and advance the work of the partnership? What are our expectations for members of the partnership? How will each partner’s expectations be addressed in agreements?
- Board composition: How large should an advisory or executive board be? Which stakeholders should be represented to ensure that the board’s diversity and reach supports the partnership’s goals and research agenda?
- Governance: How will we make decisions within the partnership? What authority, accountability, and lines of communication will support joint work?
- Operating principles:What do we need to articulate about the way we will work together? How do our operating principles inform our governance structure and decision making process?
- Timeframes: How long will these agreements remain in effect? When should we revisit them?