In order to facilitate material transfer requests for non-profit research organizations, the National Institutes of Health has announced plans to release a new web-based system in December 2011.
This development follows the previously announced launch of the electronic Research Materials catalogue (eRMa) designed to facilitate the licensing of non-parented research materials to for-profit organizations. When fully populated, that catalog has the potential to contain materials created by the thousands of NIH researchers, licensed specifically for the purpose of ongoing research. A recent review of the site showed roughly 80 materials registered, only a couple of weeks after the NIH press release.
Taken together, these developments increase the efficiency of the NIH technology transfer operation by providing:
- A searchable catalog of all available NIH research materials
- Boilerplate contracts for material transfer agreements and internal use licenses
- A mechanism to pay fees associated with the material online
This is functionally similar to the Web Agreement Portal that InfoEd Global has been developing over the past few years. While current use of the Web Agreement Portal has been for institution researchers to submit requests to their own technology transfer office, the purpose of the module has always been to support searches and requests by registered external researchers.
- Searchable catalog linked to both non-patented research materials and technologies available for licensing at the host institution
- A portal to register with the host institution, creating an account to request materials, initiate license agreements, and track the status of those submissions
- Boilerplate contracts for material transfer agreements and internal use licenses utilizing mail merge functions, also used for batch communications and email
- A mechanism to charge fees associated with the material tied to the financial functions of the technology transfer module
By lowering the administrative burden in handling these simple, high-volume transactions, institutions can focus their efforts on more complex operations.