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International Research

Support for research involving international collaboration and partners.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I transfer equipment out of the United States?

An export license may be required to ship or hand-carry items or equipment out of the U.S. The need for a license is dependent upon the nature of the equipment, as well as the end-use, recipient, and destination of the equipment. Additionally, even temporary export of equipment to some locations may incur customs tax obligations. Due to complexities of the requirements you should consult the Office of Export Compliance for assistance regarding shipping or traveling with equipment internationally.

Do all federal agencies have defined foreign components?

No, the concept of “Foreign Component” is specific to NIH.

What is the NIH definition of a foreign institution?

NIH defines a foreign institution as an organization located in a country other than the United States and its territories that is subject to the laws of that country, regardless of the citizenship of the proposed Program Director/Principal Investigator.

What is a foreign component?

A foreign component is the performance of a significant scientific element of the NIH-supported project outside of the United States. Once a recipient determines that a portion of the project will be conducted outside of the U.S., the recipient then will need to determine if the activities are considered significant. If both criteria are met, then there is a foreign component.

What are some examples of a ‘significant element of a project’ when making determinations regarding a foreign component?

When making determinations about significance, the element of the project that is being conducted outside of the United States should be evaluated within the context of the project as a whole. Some examples of activities that may be considered a significant element of the project include, but are not limited to:
• Collaborations with investigators at a foreign site anticipated to result in co-authorship
• Use of facilities or instrumentation at a foreign site
• Receipt of financial support or resources from a foreign entity

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