This chapter focuses on the funding mechanisms and administrative practices commonly used in United States (US) global health research partnerships, and the barriers that these mechanisms and practices pose for equitable partnership. US university administrators existence and practices raise important political questions about the ability and responsibility of funders, partner institutions, and African states to organise and deliver the resources that partnerships bring – what Hannah Brown calls a ‘politics of sovereign responsibility’. Relatedly, the notion of ‘capacity building’ has become central to the objectives of global health. Reimbursement for ‘indirect’ facilities and administrative costs helped US universities develop and maintain the infrastructure needed to support robust research programmes. Enabling systems are one way to provide the means or opportunity for partnership – they are intended to make partnership possible and practical. Thus ‘partnerships’ with American institutions may be forced into unequal and extractive relationships at a structural level, regardless of the good intentions of those involved.