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Managing University Assets and Equipment in Foreign Countries

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As a tax-exempt organization, it is important for Stanford to properly control and account for all assets. This is just as true for property in foreign countries as it is for property on campus. Assets and equipment purchased for international activities need to be adequately tracked, managed, and depreciated to enable proper accountability to the funder as well as ensure efficient project monitoring and close-out.

Projects that have assets and equipment acquired from sponsored research sources need to be tracked and managed according to the sponsorship agreement and standard University policies – regardless of whether the assets are used locally or at an international location. At the end of the project, ownership of the assets may remain with the University or they may revert to the sponsoring body, depending on the agreement in place. Proper asset management is important because:

  • For sponsored projects, asset management must comply with the sponsorship conditions;
  • Stanford has an obligation to provide accurate institutional level financial statements;
  • Asset Management is essential to allow Stanford to provide appropriate insurance for your project's assets; and
  • Certain assets may trigger a Presence in a country, which creates additional obligations for Stanford.

When projects are acquired and tracked through normal University channels, the Department Property Administrator (DPA) ensures that all of these items are being addressed properly. The appropriate DPA can be found using the DPA Directory.

What's Next?

Even though your project is taking place in one or more foreign countries, it is important to follow the same procurement rules that would apply in the U.S. Please work with the Procurement – Purchasing Office and your DPA as usual to purchase assets for your project, and ensure they are properly recorded and tracked.