Material Transfer Agreements: A Multupurpose Tool for International Cooperation
Year of publication: 2014
Document Type: conference documenation
Workpackage: WP 4: Analysis
Biological materials are key components in especially health and agricultural research, and they were previously freely exchanged. However, more recently, such materials have gained commercial value, and they also increase their role in innovation processes in the related economic sectors. Therefore, proprietary protection is also becoming more important.
Material Transfer Agreements (MTA) have thus been developed as a response to this challenge, and represent legal instruments that define terms of transfer of biological materials. Typically, MTAs may also include provisions for intellectual property (IP) regulating terms for ownership and licensing although this does not affect the main function and role of MTA.MTAs are therefore increasingly seen as important framework conditions for research and´innovation in health and agricultural sciences, and innovators will need updated knowledge on the state of affairs in the regions where they intend to innovate or enter into partnerships.
In the context of the SEA-EU-Net project, an INCO-net project funded under the 7thFramework Programme, framework conditions for innovation in Southeast Asia have been a key component. While the project itself is geared towards encouraging cooperation between South-East Asia and Europa, specific framework conditions for such cooperation need to be highlighted and discussed. In addition to intellectual property rights (IPR) and their management, this also concerns MTA. Hence to better illuminate the main issues and promote mutual learning in this area, a workshop on MTA was held during the STI-days in Bangkok in January 2014, a conference organized by the said SEA-EU-Net project.
The objective of the workshop was to present and discuss the current situation concerningMTAs in the health and agricultural sciences, with a view to highlight overarching issues aswell as specific challenges concerning transfer of biological materials. Lessons from good practice were highlighted, in addition to the role of MTAs in the research and innovation processes, and different experiences in public and private sectors in both the South-East Asian and European regions. This summary report is produced with the aim to make the results of the workshop available to interested parties in both regions. It is based on the presentationsgiven by invited experts, and great appreciation is extended to Christoph L. Häuser of Leibniz-Institute for Research in Evolutionary Biodiversity in Germany, Harry Herkutanto of National Institute of Health Research and Development in Indonesia, Ruaraidh S. Hamilton of International Rice Institute in Philippines, and Dominique Dessauw of the CIRAD French Agricultural Research Centre for Development. The program of the workshop can be found in the annex to this report.