What kinds of agreements do partners develop as they start out and build for the long term?

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?
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Structuring a Partnership