If you are involved in scientific research or, more specifically, the transfer of materials between organizations or institutions, then you may have heard of a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) and its relationship with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
MTAs are legal contracts that govern the transfer of any biological, chemical, or physical material between two or more parties. These agreements ensure that the recipient can use the material for their research purposes, while the provider retains ownership of the material and its associated intellectual property.
The GDPR, on the other hand, is a European Union data protection regulation that came into effect on May 25, 2018. It aims to protect the privacy and personal data of EU citizens. It applies to all organizations that handle the personal data of EU citizens, regardless of where these organizations are based.
So, what is the relationship between MTA and GDPR?
In essence, MTAs must comply with the GDPR if they involve the transfer of personal data, such as genomic data or other sensitive information that could identify an individual. Personal data must be processed in accordance with the GDPR, including obtaining valid and informed consent from the individual and ensuring appropriate security measures are in place.
Moreover, MTAs should also define the responsibilities of the parties involved in the transfer of personal data. For instance, both the provider and recipient should have clear obligations in terms of data protection and confidentiality.
MTAs should also include provisions for data breaches, outlining the required steps if personal data is accidentally or unlawfully destroyed, lost, altered, or disclosed.
It is worth noting that, if MTAs do not comply with the GDPR, institutions involved in the material transfer could face severe fines and reputational damage. Therefore, it is essential to review and update MTAs to avoid any potential GDPR violations.
In conclusion, the GDPR has significant implications for the transfer of materials in scientific research. Material Transfer Agreements that involve the transfer of personal data must comply with GDPR regulations to ensure the protection of individuals` data. By working together and following best practices, researchers can effectively manage the legal and ethical issues related to the transfer of materials.