International Research

Research in all fields can often have international components. Examples could include international travel or field work, importing or exporting equipment or samples, collaborating with researchers from other countries, hosting visiting scholars, and more.

When there is any international element in research, it is critical to be aware that extra due diligence is required so you can initiate the appropriate reviews early to avoid delays to your project or activity, or noncompliance, which can carry serious consequences.

International Human Subjects Research

The Office of Research Compliance (ORC) has published guidance on international human subjects research. When conducting research with participants outside the United States (U.S.), additional review and documentation will be necessary, if required, from the international site and country and the UMaine Office of Research Compliance and Institutional Review Board (IRB). The principal investigator (PI) should start this process as soon as possible.

International Animal Studies

Many countries have their own regulations governing vertebrate animal work. The Principal Investigator must make sure all regulations and permitting requirements are followed. In addition, if you are working with a collaborator, it is likely that you will need to obtain a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for this activity. ORC can help facilitate the MOU. Contact the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) office for more information.

International Travel

In addition to abiding by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School’s Research Travel Guidelines & Procedures and University of Maine System (UMS) travel guidelines, travelers are required to coordinate with the following offices, as applicable, to ensure appropriate travel and fieldwork procedures are followed and any necessary approvals are in place prior to international travel:

  • Working with UMS Safety Management to develop and implement a Fieldwork Safety Plan. Please see Fieldwork Safety Training Guide (requires account to view).
  • Working with UMS Risk Management to ensure the appropriate insurance coverage is in place.
  • Working with export compliance staff in the Office of Research Compliance to determine if any export licenses, or documented use of an exception, is required for the export (even temporary) of University equipment, computers, or supplies.
    • You may receive an inquiry from ORC after your international travel has been entered into Concur, but if you know in advance that you will be exporting materials (particularly a large number of items), please request a review by emailing us at
  • Review University of Maine Advanced Research Computing, Security, and Information Management (ARCSIM)’s travel guidance for data security which includes tips for travelers for before, during, and after travel.

Export Control

U.S. export control regulations govern what research instruments, materials, software and technology that we, as a U.S. institution, can export (transfer) out of the country by any means, and what sensitive items and technology we can share with foreign nationals (e.g., individuals who are not U.S. citizens, do not have a Green Card, or otherwise do not fall into a federal protected category) who are studying, researching, working in, or visiting our facilities. These regulations also inform what research and business partners we engage with, such that we must avoid U.S. government-restricted or prohibited entities (entities of concern from a national security, export control, or embargoed-country perspective).

Export controls can impact University activities on-campus and abroad, including:

  • International travel, fieldwork & conferences
  • International shipping
  • International financial transactions
  • Hosting a foreign visitor/scholar
  • Foreign national participation in research activities
  • International collaboration (both informal and those with agreements such as MOU and research agreements)
  • Using 3rd party proprietary information/restricted materials
  • Teaching courses abroad or online

For more information, visit Export Compliance on the ORC website. Please request reviews for any of the above activities by emailing us at

Other questions about international research?

If you have any questions about international research, please reach out to the Office of Research Compliance and we can help find the best path towards compliance.