University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS)

The University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS) was established by the Provost to review and facilitate major international activities at Harvard. The committee reviews proposals for significant activities abroad, including the establishment of Harvard “offices” abroad; discusses University-wide policies that affect Harvard’s international activities; and reviews ongoing international activities at the request of the President or Provost.  It provides recommendations to Deans and faculty members in support of major international proposals.  The UCIPS is advisory to the Provost, who holds final decision-making authority over proposals presented to the UCIPS.

Proposals that are international in nature and meet any of the following criteria are subject to UCIPS review:

  • The proposed project involves the establishment of a new international office or site (permanent or semi-permanent) [see “Proposals for New Offices Abroad” below]
  • The project involves the use of the Harvard name
  • The project involves a scope of work that is unusual, complex or high risk
  • The proposed project has an annual budget greater than $1.0 million or other threshold specific to the School.

The UCIPS includes a faculty representative from each School of the University, two from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.  It is chaired by the Vice Provost for International Affairs.  A full list of members can be found here. For more information or with questions, please contact Todd Washburn, Senior Assistant Provost for International Affairs, at

Proposals for New Offices Abroad

The UCIPS ordinarily follows a two-stage process for review of proposals for new offices abroad: first is authorization to explore; next is authorization to implement.  Therefore, those proposing to open a new office come before UCIPS twice, usually at least six months apart, and as much as 12-24 months apart.

Meetings are organized around review and discussion of a written proposal from the unit proposing to open an office. Though there is no prescribed application form for a proposal, the content generally includes the following, with the second proposal adding details that were unavailable in the first and revisions based on input from UCIPS members, the Provost, and other relevant stakeholders:

  • Brief history of the proposing unit and its (and/or Harvard’s) engagement with the country/region in question
  • The case for an office: Why an office?  Why now?
  • Description of the office’s activities:
    • What will it do? 
    • Will it focus primarily or exclusively on supporting work of the home unit’s faculty and students? Or might it seek to expand on the home unit’s Cambridge-based mission, perhaps by making internship or research opportunities available to students from multiple Schools, or by hosting conferences/seminars/symposia that include scholars from other graduate and professional schools? Note that there is no correct answer to this question. Both types are represented among current Harvard offices. But either should be explained on its own merits and should acknowledge the reasons for not choosing the alternative.
  • Draft budget, staffing plan, timeline
  • Exit strategy, if relevant
    • What if the office opens but anticipated funding sources don’t materialize?
    • Is the proposing unit prepared to close the office if it “doesn’t work”?