Working with Foreign Sponsors or Organizations

Penn State’s research portfolio includes projects funded by sponsors (industries, universities, and governmental agencies) outside of the United States. Doing business with foreign sponsors requires additional review and oversight because of the unique aspects of contracting with foreign organizations, among them export compliance issues, invoicing, and foreign currency.   A helpful resource to assist with bridging the funding terminologies gap between European and U.S. partners is an online platform called The Terminology MediaWiki,

Export Compliance 

Sponsored research projects which have a foreign component (e.g. foreign sponsor, international travel, hosting of visiting scientists, or shipping of materials and/or technical data either to a foreign national or outside of the United States) must be reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Programs to ensure University compliance with U.S. Export Control Laws as well as compliance with University policies and guidelines. A preliminary export review is required before proposal submission if the proposal includes any of the following:  1) a foreign sponsor; 2) a foreign prime sponsor; 3) a foreign subrecipient or consultant; or, 4) a foreign collaborator. This preliminary review is necessary to permit screening of the foreign participants against the federally maintained restricted parties listings. Most agreements with a foreign component will also require an additional substantive export review at the award stage. A link to more export compliance information can be found here.  Please contact  Missy Surovec or Jill Brasher Co-Chairs, Export Compliance Committee with any questions related to export compliance for sponsored research. The University’s comprehensive institutional Export Compliance Management Program (ECMP) is under the direction of the Office of Export Compliance. For information about the ECMP and export compliance in general at Penn State, please contact Tami Hemingway, University Export Compliance Officer.


Many foreign sponsors use electronic wire transfer for issuing payments to Penn State and therefore our bank account information is required to set up the transaction. This information is available from Research Accounting.  Please note that for security purposes, Research Accounting will provide this information directly to the sponsor.

Foreign Currency 

Many foreign sponsors want to use their own currency when issuing agreements. It is preferred that awards be made in U.S. dollars but in the event this is not possible, please be aware that currency exchange rates can fluctuate up or down and affect the effective amount of the award. For convenience, here is a currency conversion website to assist with determining the actual amount of an award.