Visiting Researchers

As a Carnegie Tier One research university, the University of North Texas takes great pride in the partnerships and research collaborations we have built with universities and organizations worldwide. UNT is a place where people from every culture and background come together to advance global knowledge.

Part of our collaborations involve visiting scholars. Every year, UNT welcomes 150 to 200 visiting researchers who work with faculty hosts to engage in research collaborations. We are committed to fostering international collaborative partnerships while promoting full transparency about our relationships.

You may be aware of the recent decision to suspend UNT’s hosting of scholars funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council. This decision is limited to 15 visiting researchers funded by this particular organization, and the decision does not impact any student enrolled and studying at the university, nor any visiting scholar funded by other sources.

We have taken this action based upon specific and credible information following detailed briefings from federal and local law enforcement. Due to the sensitive nature of this situation, I hope you understand why we are not allowed to share additional information at this time.

What is a Visiting Scholar?

A visiting scholar is not an employee of UNT or The UNT System. International visiting scholars come to the University of North Texas on a temporary basis to collaborate on research and scholarly topics of mutual interests or to work on specific research to be conducted within university facilities. The hosting of visiting international scholars is encouraged when consistent with the mission and desired outcomes of UNT and when the College/Departmental units can provide adequate space and resources to the international visiting scholars. The flowchart below will explain the steps of the Visting Scholar process.

Faculty Host

A UNT faculty host primary responsibility is facilitating the visiting scholar. The faculty host serves as the administrative liaison between UNT stakeholders and the visiting scholar during his/her/their visit. In addition to submission of the VPAA 40, the unit host for any proposed visiting scholar or Fulbright Scholar must ensure that the proposed visiting scholar has completed the following forms:

Visiting Scholar Agreement

This agreement is similar to visiting scholar agreements found at other research universities. We require an agreement that makes intellectual property (IP) ownership clear, concise, and understandable so that IP does not create a difficulty after a visit has started or ended. This agreement makes it clear that while visiting UNT, UNT may be the owner of IP discovered/invented/created while using our special resources. These could include analytical devices that are outside of common capabilities or databases that UNT has expended considerable resources to provide to our faculty and students. If an invention occurs that utilizes UNT significant resources, that invention may be owned or partially owned by UNT. However, if a visiting scholar has created intellectual property prior to visiting UNT and wants to be clear that such IP was developed prior to visiting, that visiting scholar should alert the Research Commercial Agreements team through researchcontracts@unt.edu to ensure we have documentation that an invention occurred prior to visiting UNT and/or did not use UNT significant resources

The confidentiality agreement, confidential disclosure agreement or CDA provides protection to both the visiting scholar and the UNT faculty and students who that scholar will interact with while on campus. The main point of a CDA is providing the protection for information that one party shares (discloses) to another, but on purpose and accidently. This allows either the visitor or UNT to be able to retain full patent rights (if information was shared without a CDA, disclosure without a CDA would forfeit all foreign patent rights as of that day and start a one year timer to lose all patent rights in the USA if the owner does not file (such as because they did not think that talking to the recipient would “count” as a public disclosure). Additionally, CDA’s allow us to ensure that data rights are in place to ensure that both parties can publish their data according to their research agendas; without a CDA in place, a conflict could arise that would take away from their academic missions. Finally, it is important to understand that UNT is a very large organization; using these documents ensures that we have documentation to prove to our outside funders and interested parties such as federal and state funding agencies that we are following all laws and rules completely, including the notification of export control restrictions.

Prior approval must be obtained before extending an invitation to a visiting scholar. The decision to host an international visiting scholar is not a unilateral faculty decision. This decision requires the input from many UNT stakeholders. The hosting faculty member is responsible for obtaining key information from the potential visiting scholar and for being engaged in the approval process. The information gathering, review, and approval must precede a formal invitation for the scholar to visit UNT.

Visiting Scholar Request Form