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Terms of engagement: transfer of biological materials for research in Australia


Whitton, TC and Nielsen, J and Nicol, D, Terms of engagement: transfer of biological materials for research in Australia, Journal of Law and Medicine, 27 pp. 338-354. ISSN 1320-159X (2019) [Refereed Article]


The shift from basic science to potentially more lucrative applied science and commercialisation has had a profound impact on sharing biological materials for research purposes. Free exchanges of ideas and research materials have become cloaked in contractual obligations, driven by commercialisation and impact policies, particularly through material transfer agreements (MTAs). There has been no analysis of the terms included in MTAs routinely used by Australian universities and research institutes for the transfer of biological materials for research. This study analyses terms from 45 MTAs used by Australian universities and research organisations as well as common standard agreements. Our findings suggest that drafters need to refocus MTA terms to the purpose behind which materials are exchanged. Terms need to be directed primarily towards compatibility with the research effort rather than the remote possibility of future commercial and translational opportunities. This refocusing should simplify MTA terms, expediting materials transfer and supporting research.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:material transfer agreements, biological transfers, Australia, standard agreements, simplified agreements, drafting terms
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Public law not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Law reform
UTAS Author:Whitton, TC (Ms Tess Whitton)
UTAS Author:Nielsen, J (Associate Professor Jane Nielsen)
UTAS Author:Nicol, D (Professor Dianne Nicol)
ID Code:137426
Year Published:2019
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP140100301)
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2020-02-12
Last Modified:2020-03-20

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