Materials and information may be proprietary. In order to protect both your publication and potential patent rights, the sharing, transmittal, and use of such materials should be governed by an agreement. The specific goals of a project will determine the most appropriate agreement, whether it is a confidentiality agreement, material transfer agreement, or collaborative agreement. The following section describes the types of agreements our office reviews. If you have any questions, please contact OTT.

Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDAs)

A Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA), also known as a Non-disclosure agreement (NDA), is used to exchange proprietary information. Examples of potentially proprietary information generated in laboratories are scientific research results and data, chemical compositions and formulas, software development information, and laboratory methodologies.

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) formalizes the transfer of materials between a provider and recipient for non-commercial research purposes. The following are typical materials that can be sent or received under an MTA:

  • Animal Models: transgenic and knockout mice, flies, worms
  • Computer Software
  • Human Materials and Data: blood, tissues, genomic DNA, primary cells, human embryonic stem cells, and data originally obtained from humans
  • Research Tools: antibodies, plasmids, vectors, cell lines, bacterial or yeast strains and chemicals.

If your outgoing material is a research tool which is non-hazardous, not of human origin, not for human use, and the recipient is a U.S. academic institution, you may use a Simple Letter Agreement. For all other material transfers, please contact OTT to discuss the appropriate MTA needed.

Human Samples

NIEHS researchers are required to use an agreement to share human tissues, human blood samples or other human research specimens. Transfer of human material or data will require the completion of an Attestation Form. For guidance, feel free to contact OTT.

Research Collaboration Agreements (RCAs)

A Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA) memorializes the exchange of materials, confidential data, and results during a joint research project. In this agreement, each party retains title to any intellectual property rights in inventions made by its employees during the course of the research.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs)

A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) describes a joint research project along with the respective contributions of NIEHS and the collaborator. A CRADA provides the collaborator with an exclusive option to elect an exclusive or nonexclusive license to inventions made under the CRADA.

A Materials CRADA is used when a collaborator provides proprietary material and requires the option to license rights to discoveries that NIEHS scientists create using their proprietary material. Other than providing proprietary material, collaborator does not make an intellectual contribution to the research project.

For more information about CRADAs.

Licensing Agreements

Licensing agreements are used to grant another party permission to use a NIEHS-owned inventions. Licensing agreements can be for non-exlcusive or exclusive use of the invention by the party. Exclusive license agreements are granted only through fulfillment of criteria outlined in 37 C.F.R. § 404.7. Please contact OTT to initiate an application for a license to use NIEHS-owned inventions.


Sharon Soucek, Ph.D.
Sharon Soucek, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Technology Transfer
Tel 984-287-4152
[email protected]

General inquiries contact OTT.