Research Agreements

Research Agreements

Researchers often encounter agreements related to use of data, collaborative relationships, receipt of materials, confidentiality requirements, and the like.  These agreements require review by designated signatory authorities at CUNY or the Research Foundation of CUNY (RF), and cannot be signed or executed by the researcher.  If you are presented with an agreement related to your research or think you may need one, please contact the Office for the Advancement of Research (oar @ for guidance on how to proceed.

Here we provide a review of some types of Research Agreements.  Additional information is available on the CUNY Research Compliance website:



Data Transfer Agreement (DTA)


A contract describing CUNY data to be shared with a non-CUNY individual or organization and how that data can be used.  A DTA is required, for example, when a non-CUNY researcher will have access to CUNY data, or when a CUNY faculty member leaves CUNY and wishes to take research data to a new institution. A DTA may also be required when a CUNY researcher will obtain educational records from the Office of Institutional Research (OIR).

Data Use Agreement  (DUA) – Restricted or Unrestricted

A contract that describes the receipt and use of non-CUNY data by CUNY researchers.  DUAs are used for both ‘restricted’ and ‘unrestricted’ data. Restricted data is defined as a dataset that cannot be distributed to the general public because of, for example, participant and other confidentiality or privacy concerns, third party licensing or use agreements, or national security considerations. All other data that can be distributed to the general public is considered unrestricted.

Note: Students who will work with data obtained via a Restricted Data Use Agreement, a CUNY IT security waiver is required pursuant to CUNY’s IT security policy.

IRB Authorization Agreement (IAA)

A formal document that provides a mechanism by which an institution engaged in human subjects research cedes review of the research to the IRB of another institution when investigators at each site are involved in a research project together.

More information: CUNY HRPP Policy: Non-Exempt Cooperative Human Subjects Research

Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)

A contract that governs the sending or receipt of tangible research materials to or from another organization when the recipient will use it for his or her own research purposes.

Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA)

A contract that creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect confidentiality and to agree not to disclose information.

Privacy Certificate

Required for applicants for NIJ support when the proposal contains a research or statistical component under which personally identifiable information will be collected.  The Privacy Certificate is the applicant’s assurance that s/he understands the responsibilities to protect the confidentiality of the data and has developed specific procedures to ensure such protections.

Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC)

Protects the privacy of research subjects by prohibiting disclosure of identifiable, sensitive research information to anyone not connected to the research except when the subject consents, or in a few other specific situations.  NIH-funded researchers are automatically issued a CoC through their award.  Other DHHS agencies will issue a CoC to funded researchers.  Researchers not funded through HHS can apply for a CoC through the NIH or the FDA for HHS-mission relevant research.