The Centre for Law and Genetics hosted a small, targeted workshop with international and national experts and key players in the Material Transfer Agreement (MTAs) area. This workshop canvassed the original concerns borne of material transfer agreements. The key concern is that MTAs are stalling and impeding research. Research has been conducted in the US, Canada and Australia in this area to date.
The Centre for Law and Genetics currently holds an ARC Discovery Grant to investigate the use of material transfer agreements. Our key questions concern whether the issues that have been identified over time are persisting, and if so, what might be done to reconcile them and whether the problems that emerged at that time are now emerging in the context of data. (The transfer of data is quite common and becoming increasingly formalised by use of data transfer agreements, material transfer agreements and in other agreements.) This workshop is one of the final phases of our research in this area.
Experts presented (view slides) on aspects of their research in relation particularly to human tissue transfer but also touched on synthetic biology and natural resources. Special guests who could provide different supplier and user perspectives from Addgene and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute also attended.
While attention in this area has calmed in recent years, the problems endure. The workshop participants discussed why this was so and the potential ways that this might be countered.
The Centre is grateful to all the guests who attended the event, for their contributions and enthusiasm in the area. Outputs from this workshop will be made available on our website.