River Science Connection: Collaborative Partnerships

Watershed organizations often do not have the capacity or specialized skills to satisfy all of their needs and look for outside help to accomplish projects. Creating partnerships allows organizations to accomplish tasks they are unable to do on their own. These partnerships can be between another watershed organization, a university, consultant, or agency and can be mutually beneficial.

When forming a partnership, it is important that both parties have a mutual understanding of the project or the objective of the partnership. A memorandum of agreement (MOA) is a document that can be drafted to ensure that both parties understand their roles in an effort and what to expect from the other party for a specific project. Details such as time period, compensation, and any other support such as equipment or facilities should be included in the document.

Most universities have template documents to be used when entering partnerships with another entity, such as a nonprofit. These documents can be called research agreements or memorandums of understanding (MOU), but serve the same purpose of outlining what each party will contribute to the partnership.

Sample agreements used by universities:

 

Resources

Scientist-Community Partnerships: A Scientist’s Guide to Successful Collaboration
The Union of Concerned Scientists created a 16-page guide discusses the benefits and challenges that arise with community partnerships, how to find and build relationships, and how to overcome challenges for an effective collaboration.

Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together
This document from Strengthening Nonprofits details how organizations can form and manage partnerships of various categories including partnerships among nonprofits and cross-sector partnerships.

How to Draft a Collaborative Research Agreement
Refer to this chapter from the IP Handbook of Best Practices for creating the five components of research agreements: statement of objectives, statement of work, general provisions, budget, and list of materials.

Memorandum of Understanding Instruction Guidance
This document is written in the form of a MOU with text in each section to facilitate in the drafting of a new MOU and includes an example for reference.