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Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA)

The CDA is the tool to assist NIH researchers to gain access to proprietary information from industry researchers while at the same time protect the Government researcher’s right to publish and continue research. As a Government researcher, you are located on a balance scale between the parties holding the view that the government suppresses too much information and the view that the government is incapable of keeping a secret. Whereas academia in the past published everything, under present law and market place conditions, academia is also trying to find a balance between open research and market demands. CDAs are established for a specific purpose, regarding a specific topic and for a specific time period, as negotiated by the parties involved.

Processing a CDA:

NINDS Investigators are responsible for making the determination as to whether the activity is official duty or should be conducted as outside work.

When the activity is determined to be an inside activity (Official Duty), the CDA is between the Institute and the outside party, with the Investigator acting as an agent of the Institute. Once a CDA for an inside activity is in effect, requests to terminate the CDA must got through the NINDS TTO and Ethics Offices. The investigator involved with the CDA will be subject to a 12-month “cooling off” period before initiating any outside work with that particular outside organization..

When an investigator determines an activity to be classified as an "outside" activity, a CDA is between the investigator and the outside party. The NINDS TTO cannot review or provide advice since the CDA is done in a personal capacity. For any questions regarding an outside activity CDA, you should contact the NINDS Ethics Officer. Once approved, outside activity requests remain in effect until the ending date provided on the HHS-520 form. If terminated earlier, the investigator should notify the NINDS Ethics office for cancellation of that particular request.

Please note that there is a 12-month “cooling off” period that goes into effect when the outside activity is cancelled meaning that the investigator is disqualified for one year from conclusion of outside activity from all Official Duty activities relating to the organization.

To process a CDA for work being done in an official capacity, the CDA must be reviewed by NINDS Technology Transfer Office (TTO) to assure compliance with statutory, regulatory and policy guidelines. The NINDS TTO will review and negotiate any required changes to terms of the agreement, attain the authorized Company and IC signature, have the Investigator sign, and handle all mailing. Generally, one should allow three to four weeks prior to meeting with the company to assure clearance.


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