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Support and FAQs

International activities with potential foreign influence implications surface through a variety of channels, from MOUs to grants applications to procurement contracts to conflict of interest disclosures to travel registrations to data sharing to requests to host international scholars to sponsored research agreements. Given the many touchpoints UMass Chan has established an International Engagements Working Group to facilitate coordination and compliance across our institution. Comprised of leaders across key departments – research, cybersecurity, conflicts of interest, intellectual property, immigration and international travel and export compliance – the Working Group reviews and distills external guidance to help our research community under the current regulatory landscape and reinforce the varying compliance obligations. This group also collaborates in monitoring the review of proposed, newly funded and ongoing projects with foreign components.

Members of the Working Group have compiled the general guidance on this website. Please reach out to the appropriate member regarding proposal- or project-specific questions.

A. Key Campus Contacts

If you have specific questions, contact the appropriate Working Group member below; general questions can be directed to InternationalSupportServices@umassmed.edu.


Key Point of Contact

Contact regarding

Conflict of Interest and International Project Support

Teresa Zash

Director, Conflicts of Interest (COI) & International Support Services (ISS)


Phone: (508) 856-5746


  • Conflict of Interest disclosure
  • International outside activities and appointments
  • Intl travel and export control guidance
  • Foreign project risk assessment – FPRs
  • International agreements (MOUs, etc.)

Sponsored Programs

Melissa Spragens

Director, Office of Sponsored Programs


Phone: (508) 856-5600  

  • Proposals for grants, contracts and subcontracts including those with foreign governments and agencies
  • Proposed effort commitments

Post-Award Support

Amy Miarecki

AVC, Grants & Contracts Admin.


Phone: (508) 856-5401

  • Grants/contracts/subcontracts, including those with foreign governments and agencies
  • Effort commitments/obligations

Immigration Services

Vanessa Paulman

Director, Immigration Services


Phone: (508) 856-2942


  • Engaging foreign visitors/researchers
  • Visa & immigration questions
  • Hosting international staff/students

Technology Management

James McNamara

Exec. Dir., Office of Technology Mgmt


Phone: (508)856-4390

  • Disclosure of potential invention or IP
  • Foreign-sponsored Sponsored Research Agreements or Licensing Agreements
  • Use, acceptance, or transfer of proprietary information or materials

Information Security

Brian Coleman

Information Security Officer


Phone: (774) 455-4443

  • Data theft/information security incident
  • IT risk & security assessments
  • International data sharing/transfer
  • Loaner equipment for foreign travel


John R. Hayes, Jr.

Vice Chancellor for Advancement


Phone: (508) 856-3507

  • Foreign donors/gifts
  • In-kind donations from foreign entities


Do I need to end my foreign collaborations and/or stop welcoming foreign students and visitors into my lab?

UMass Chan continues to encourage and support foreign collaborations.  However, consistent with federal agency guidance you should provide information to your research sponsors about all foreign collaborations and ensure that all foreign research visitors/scholars are duly vetted by Immigration Services to confirm that there are no restrictions upon hosting such visitors.  That said, there remains considerable concern with foreign talent programs. If you are involved in or are invited to participate in such a program, you should obtain guidance from OSP as well as from your research sponsors.

I have a visitor in my lab who is supported by his/her home foreign institution. S/he is not funded by any of my federal grants. Do I need to account for this visitor in proposals or progress reports? If so, how?

We do not have specific guidance from all sponsors on this topic, however, per NIH guidelines, this person’s work on the project should be documented as follows:

  • As “Other Support” because the externally funded individual is a “resource available in direct support of [your] research endeavors.” The NIH recently clarified that “all research resources including, but not limited to, foreign financial support, research or laboratory personnel, lab space, scientific materials, … must be reported.”
  • As a “Participant” in the progress report if the person worked on a project for more than a month in any given year. Additionally, the person’s “primary affiliation” is determined by where the work was done for the project: if the individual is affiliated with a foreign organization but worked on the award solely in the U.S., the “primary affiliation” is not foreign; if work was performed while outside of the U.S., the primary affiliation should be noted as foreign.
  • As a “Foreign Component” if the individual performed part of the work while in your UMass Chan lab, but also made a significant contribution to the project a from his/her home institution, or any other foreign location (e.g. collecting data at a foreign site, running samples on instrumentation there, and/or will be a co-author on publications arising from the grant).

I have family in countries outside the United States and I travel for personal reasons. Do I need to disclose all travel – even if it is unrelated to my UMass Chan work?

Once COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted you are not required to disclose personal international travel.  Note, however, that if you travel internationally with your work laptop or other UMass Chan device, you should be mindful of any sensitive data that the device may contain and take steps to ensure the security of those data.  Please refer to the above section on data/device security.

How do I know if a company, university, or other potential foreign collaborator creates risk? What are examples of entities that I should not work with or that invite extra scrutiny?

The federal government maintains lists of entities that are higher risk, information that changes frequently. UMass uses software called Visual Compliance to screen proposed collaborators against these lists, including sponsors of research, proposed vendors or subcontractors, and others. One well-publicized example of a company that has received federal government attention is Huawei, which the federal government recently placed on a restricted list. Please contact International Support Services if you have any questions about engaging with foreign entities.

I have been invited to a foreign institution to present at a conference. If I attend, do I need to disclose my participation to sponsors? To UMass Chan?

In general, one-time travel to present at a conference would not require disclosure to sponsors.  If, however, that travel establishes a relationship with a foreign university, government, or other entity (e.g., results in an honorary or visiting appointment or an offer to set up laboratory space at that institution), then that may need to be disclosed, depending on the sponsor and their specific guidelines.

Conference travel must be registered in the Travel Registry and will be reviewed by International Support Services to evaluate security and compliance risks.

Questions regarding these FAQs can be directed to Teresa Zash, Director of Conflict of Interest and International Support Services and/or your contact in the Office for Sponsored Programs.