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Volunteer or Visiting Scholar Agreement

What is a VVSA?

Volunteer or Visiting Scholar Agreements (VVSAs) are agreements for visiting researchers or scholars who are not affiliated with Old Dominion University, but who are granted access, either in-person or remotely, to ODU research facilities, information, materials or other ODU premises that are not typically available to the general public. The VVSA is between the volunteer or visiting scholar and ODU. The purpose of the VVSA is to be mutually beneficial by supporting the instructional and research objectives of ODU, while furthering the knowledge, experience and skills of the Volunteer or Visiting Scholar. The VVSAs do not establish monetary compensation to the volunteer or visiting Scholar.

When would you need a VVSA?

If a volunteer or visiting scholar is seeking access, either in-person or remotely, to ODU research facilities, other ODU premises, information, or materials that are not typically available to the general public, a VVSA should be entered by ODU with the volunteer or visiting scholar.

How do you initiate a VVSA?

If you are an ODU faculty member who will be hosting a Volunteer or Visiting Scholar, who will be relying on either an F-1, J-1, H-1B or other nonimmigrant visa for his or her visit, please contact the Visa & Immigration Service Advising Office at email: intlstu@odu.edu to initiate processing of the VVSA for final signature by the Office of Research.

If you are an ODU faculty member who will be hosting a Volunteer or Visiting Scholar, who will not be relying on either an F-1, J-1, H-1B or other nonimmigrant visa for his or her visit, please submit online the Background Information Form for Volunteer or Visiting Scholar Agreement.


What are selected practices and principles of VVSAs at Old Dominion University?

Proprietary and Confidential Information

The volunteer or visiting scholar must agree to use all reasonable diligence to prevent disclosure of ODU's proprietary and confidential material to any third party, unless so authorized in writing by ODU. The volunteer of visiting scholar shall not, directly or through others, allow such proprietary and confidential information to be disclosed, copyrighted, published, incorporated into any patent application or used for any purpose other than that explicitly allowed in writing by ODU.

Intellectual Property

The volunteer or visiting scholar must promptly disclose in writing to ODU any intellectual property created (conceived and/or reduced to practice) as a result of his/her work at ODU. He or she must assign to ODU all rights, title and interest in any intellectual property created (conceived and/or reduced to practice) as a result of his/her work at ODU. The volunteer or visiting scholar must agree to not file for any patent(s) related to his/her work at ODU without the written permission of ODU. He or she must agree to execute and deliver to ODU or its legal representatives any and all papers, instruments or affidavits required to apply for, obtain, maintain, issue and enforce any application, invention and/or Letters Patent and equivalents thereof. Each party shall retain for itself all rights, title and interest in any pre-existing background property owned by that party.

Assumption of Risk

The volunteer or visiting scholar may potentially work with dangerous equipment or materials, such as but not limited to, toxic chemicals and/or biological materials, high voltage electrical equipment, electrical plasma, and radioactive materials at ODU while conducting experiments or other research, which can cause deterioration of bodily functions and organs, severe physical injury and/or death. The volunteer or visiting scholar must assume the risk and agree to hold ODU, its employees and others using the research facilities harmless.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about VVSAs?

Does a Volunteer or Visiting Scholar Agreement create an employment relationship between Old Dominion University and the volunteer or visiting scholar?

No, the VVSA does not by itself create an employment relationship between Old Dominion University and the volunteer or visiting scholar.

Who has signing authority at ODU for the Volunteer or Visiting Scholar Agreement?

The following four signatures at Old Dominion University are required (in the following sequence):

  1. Professor hosting the Volunteer or Visiting Scholar
  2. Chair of Department hosting the Volunteer or Visiting Scholar
  3. Dean of College
  4. Vice President for Research (or his/her designee within the Office of Research)

Can the volunteer or visiting scholar publish any portion of the research conducted with ODU facilities?

No portion of the research at ODU or with ODU facilities, materials or information can be published by the volunteer or visiting scholar without the express written permission of the Vice President of Research of ODU.

Can ODU publish the results of the research conducted by the volunteer or visiting scholar at ODU or remotely by the volunteer or visiting scholar with ODU materials or information?

Yes, ODU shall be free to publish the results of the research participated by the volunteer or visiting scholar. However, any publications shall give appropriate recognition to the contributions made by the volunteer or visiting scholar.

Who should the Principal Investigator contact with questions about a proposed VVSA for a Volunteer or Visiting Scholar who will not rely on either an F-1, J-1, H-1B or other nonimmigrant visa for his or her visit?