New ECCO model documents for Material Deposit

Agreements (MDA) & Material Transfer Agreements (MTA)



In 2005, ECCO installed a workgroup to define and describe the commonly agreed core content of a material transfer agreement to be used for the supply of samples from the biological material that ECCO holds in its public collections. Drafts of the clauses were discussed with the ECCO Members at yearly ECCO Meetings, and in February 2009 the ECCO Board and the Annual General Meeting approved the first version of the ECCO Core MTA.

This core MTA addressed key-issues for public collections and users of the supplied materials, including traceability, fair and equitable sharing of benefits, intellectual property rights, quality, safety and security (Janssens et al. 2009). ECCO collections were free to extend the Core MTA as appropriate or necessary under their own legal framework, whilst the supply by the various ECCO collections would remain under the same essential conditions.

Over time the ECCO Core MTA proved to be a useful tool for the ECCO member collections, and also for curators of other microbial collections and researchers in other organizations dealing with transfer of microbial materials. It was clear from the onset that such tools would have to be updated as required to follow changing legal and regulatory requirements.

After the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol on 12th October 2014, it became increasingly clear that the ECCO Core MTA needed to be updated in order to comply with the new situation.

Therefore, a group of ECCO experts started to work on a new model MTA for supply, and also on a model for deposit of material in the public collection (MDA). Main purpose of the MDA model is to support collections in the essential effort of obtaining and checking relevant ABS information from the depositors at the time new material is being offered for deposit in the public collection. Drafts of the MTA and MDA model documents were discussed during the ECCO Meeting held in Turin, Italy from 12–14 June 2019, and subsequently approved by the ECCO Annual General Meeting.

You can download the new model documents here:

Verkley supplementary material 1 – The MDA model resubmission accepted changes minor rev

Verkley supplementary material 2 – The MTA model resubmission accepted changes

Verkley supplementary material 3 – The MTA model Annex 1 resubmission accept change

Verkley supplementary material 4 – The MTA model Annex 2 resubmission accepted changes

How to use the model documents

The model documents can be downloaded through the links provided below. Those who are interested in using these models are urged to carefully read the paper that was compiled by the members of the work group and published in FEMS Microbiology Letters (Verkley et al. 2020), because it explains how best to use these tools for preparing tailor-made agreement documents under one’s own legal and institutional framework.

The MDA model consists of a set of core fields typically included in a “deposit form” to collect relevant information to facilitate assessment of the status of the material under access and benefit sharing (ABS) legislation. It also includes a set of exemplary clauses to be included in “terms and conditions of use” for culture collection management and third parties. The MTA model addresses key issues including

intellectual property rights, quality, safety, security and traceability. Besides public collections, the MDA and MTA model documents can also be useful for individual researchers and microbial laboratories that collect or receive microbial cultures, keep a working collection, and wish to share their material with others.

The text of the old ECCO Core MTA is avialable here.


Janssens D, Tindal B, Green P et al. The ECCO core Material Transfer Agreement for the supply of samples of biological material from the public collection, 2009. -mta/.

Gerard Verkley, Giancarlo Perrone, Mery Piña, Amber Hartman Scholz, Jörg Overmann, Aurora Zuzuarregui, Iolanda Perugini, Benedetta Turchetti, Marijke Hendrickx, Glyn Stacey, Samantha Law, Julie Russell, David Smith, Nelson Lima (2020). New ECCO model documents for Material Deposit and Transfer Agreements in compliance with the Nagoya Protocol. FEMS Microbiology Letters 367, Issue 5, March 2020, fnaa044.