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Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) / Materials Transfer Agreements (MTAs) 

Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs)

The Federal Technology Transfer Act (FTTA) of 1986, created Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) to enhance and facilitate collabo­ration between federal laboratories and all types of partners. Partners can be commer­cial organizations, public and private foun­dations, nonprofit organizations, including universities, individuals who are licensees of government owned inventions, units of state or local governments, and other federal agencies. The FTTA provides Federal labora­tories with the authority and an effective mechanism to enter into joint research and development projects with these partners.

CRADAs benefit the public by transferring expertise and technology from govern­ment laboratories, thereby encouraging the development of tools and technologies which improve public health, processes, and services. CRADAs have been enthusiastically implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Under a CRADA, a joint research project is specified, along with the respective contributions of CDC and the collaborator. CDC may provide research personnel, laboratory facilities, materials, equipment, supplies, intellectual property, and other in-kind contributions, but not funding, to the collaborator. The collabo­rator may contribute funds to the collabora­tive effort as well as research personnel, laboratory facilities, materials, equipment, supplies, and other in-kind contributions. Ultimately, the collaborator may provide the expertise needed for the development and com­mercialization of a new product, process, or service.

The primary difference between CRADAs and other CDC research contracts and agree­ments is that CRADAs provide the collaborator with an advance option to negotiate an exclusive license to inventions made under the CRADA. This exclusivity gives the commercial partner an advantage in the marketplace and a window of opportunity for full development and marketing of the resulting product. In carrying out the research plan specified in the CRADA, CDC scientists/engineers are encouraged to work closely with their partner to investigate and develop technology jointly, based on their mutual research interests.

As with other collaborative agreements, CDC enters into a CRADA only when the research objective is consistent with the Agency's mission. Because CDC/ seeks collabora­tion, not "sponsorship", CRADAs are a very cost-effective way for companies, particularly small businesses, to leverage their R&D efforts.

What does a CRADA include?
A typical CRADA between CDC and the private sector includes a number of standard provisions, based on policy guidelines and model agreements adopted by the PHS agencies. These include:

What are the benefits of CRADAs?
Collaboration under a CRADA results in a number of mutual benefits for CDC and for commercial firms, as well as expedit­ing public access to technology developments.

Commercial firms benefit by:

CDC benefits by:

Material Transfer Agreements (MTA)

Material Transfer Agreements  (MTAs) are utilized when any CDC proprietary materials are exchanged with researchers outside the CDC, and when the receiving party intends to use it for his/her own research purposes. Materials transferred through an MTA must be used for research purposes only and cannot be used in human subjects. MTAs are generally used only for exchange of materials with other government agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations. MTAs define and specify the terms and conditions under which the materials can be used by recipients. MTAs do not grant intellectual property rights or rights for commercial purposes to the recipient. If a scientist receives an MTA from an outside organization, he or she should present it to the respective Technology Transfer Coordinator.  The TDC will review the document to determine whether it is acceptable and consistent with CDC policies.  If it is not acceptable, the TDC will attempt to negotiate with the organization to have the document modified so that it will be in compliance with CDC policy and Federal law.

To learn more about CRADA, MTA or other agreements:
If you want to learn more about various agreements or would like to utilize CRADA, MTA or other mechanisms, please contact Technology Development Coordinators or staff at the TTO.

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