Benefit Sharing

We’ve expanded on the official benefit sharing list provided by the CBD and added additional ideas for specific biology fields. You can consider these for developing your Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT). Our expanded ideas are contributed from the community and are in italics. You can learn more about benefit sharing and even highlight the benefit sharing in your own work by submitting a Use Case.

Non-monetary benefits may include, but not be limited to:

(a) Sharing of research and development results;

-Returning results to the community can help people realize value of biological diversity and cultural knowledge.

-Drawing local attention to importance of species and knowledge for science can help people promote conservation of the species that was studied. Increased attention helps conservation.

(b) Collaboration, cooperation and contribution in scientific research and development programs, particularly biotechnological research activities, where possible in the Party providing genetic resources;

-Putting this in writing and articulating the expectations of the collaboration is not only useful for the international collaboration, but useful to recognize and connect all members of the team who may not be directly interacting with each other. 

-Defining the nature of a collaboration in writing can improve accountability and trust that parties will follow through on promises to provide authorship and acknowledgment with set expectations of collaborative work and timelines.

(c) Participation in product development;

-Skill-building in different disciplines (not necessarily scientific) is a great way to share benefits. There are organizations that actually help support these joint product development efforts. In addition, the joint production is a story that can boost interest in the product.

(d) Collaboration, cooperation and contribution in education and training;

-Some examples of training and participant education could include cross-training visits, hosting exchange students, jointly attending conferences and workshops, and running virtual working groups. 

-Collaboration could be to co-create education and training teaching modules, lessons, videos, handbooks, education papers, surveys, and guides. Project teams could even contribute to courses taught by others, such as Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences happening on a college campus looking for authentic research narratives and examples. 

(e) Admittance to ex situ facilities of genetic resources and to databases;

-Facilitating the process of admitting samples for long-term preservation can be a lot of work, but it benefits to providers to help build lasting resources they can access. For instance, depositing seeds in a national seed bank may ensure they are preserved and multiplied for people to access in the future. The mutually agreed terms of use of material can be included in the terms of use of the ex situ collection.

(f) Transfer to the provider of the genetic resources of knowledge and technology under fair and most favorable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms where agreed, in particular, knowledge and technology that make use of genetic resources, including biotechnology, or that are relevant to the conservation and sustainable utilization of biological diversity;

-Sharing new knowledge about the genetic resource with the provider community can spur additional innovation and broaden capacity.

(g) Strengthening capacities for technology transfer;

-Technology is a very broad term. A recipe is a technology. A cultivation method is a technology. An industrial application is a technology. The technology we develop for one genetic resource can often catalyze development for others. It may be easier to share benefits this way than we immediately realize, so think broadly and creatively about what relevant technologies are.

(h) Institutional capacity-building;

-Capacity-building such as the ability to collaborate or manage data or enter legal agreements happens on the individual level, the group level (like labs or teams), the departmental level, the institutional level, as well as on the state and national levels. You may be forging the first collaboration between two institutions, or may be forging a partnership between funding agencies supporting the internationally collaborative work.

(i) Human and material resources to strengthen the capacities for the administration and enforcement of access regulations;

-This benefit covers everything from storage space in a freezer or a database to time people work to help curate, administer, and regulate genetic resources. This may manifest as a service with monetary value, like maintaining a SQL database or supporting the salary of a data manager or collections processor. It may be non-monetary, like offering translation services, or priority access to collections, or seeking institutional letters of commitment to maintain collections.

(j) Training related to genetic resources with the full participation of countries providing genetic resources, and where possible, in such countries;

-Training workshops can be on the ground or virtual. Sometimes, additional funding can be found specifically for supporting these events. This point emphasizes including the provider countries in training and making it more feasible for members of that country to attend.

(k) Access to scientific information relevant to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, including biological inventories and taxonomic studies;

-This could be access to your campus digital library, or making a folder of relevant media and sharing it. Be considerate of when digital information is more useful or when physical information (like actual books) is more useful. Where will the information be stored so it can be accessed by the most people?

(l) Contributions to the local economy;

-There are many creative ways to contribute to this benefit: one could help sell things that benefit a community, or help provide review or advertise a local economic product.

(m) Research directed towards priority needs, such as health and food security, taking into account domestic uses of genetic resources in the Party providing genetic resources;

-This point considers the opportunity for co-development of research projects that are applied or have community-selected outreach activities.

(n) Institutional and professional relationships that can arise from an access and benefit-sharing agreement and subsequent collaborative activities;

-So much of our world is about who you know and the history of collaboration. A sour collaboration between institutions can burn bridges for decades for researchers who had nothing to do with the sour collaboration. A good working relationship between any level, from nations to individuals, can open doors for future projects.

(o) Food and livelihood security benefits;

-Some examples include collecting clothing, book or toy donations and regularly shipping them out to communities standing to benefit, such as the town orphanage, or to an institution who can distribute the goods. 

-Some researchers help make key connections between charitable organizations and a community that may not have worked with the charity before. One example is the Heifer Project.

(p) Social recognition;

-Press around a scientific paper includes newspapers, blogs, talks, Instagram, and other communication vehicles. Highlighting the work of others and ensuring credit is given when it’s due is a great way to help people grow their opportunities.

-You could nominate a person for an award that recognizes their work. 

-You could help promote the activities of a person with your own social media (e.g. retweeting, writing to influencers).

(q) Joint ownership of relevant intellectual property rights.

-It’s very difficult to know what the future holds, so even if a project is small, or does not have obvious monetary benefit, it is very important to define this in mutually agreed terms. All relationships stand to benefit when this is defined. You can always include a clause that the terms will be renegotiated after X years or after the use of the genetic resource changes.

Monetary benefits may include, but not be limited to:

(a) Access fees/fee per sample collected or otherwise acquired;

-A fee could support someone helping to make collections for the local museum. 

-Maintaining biological collections come with a cost that is often hard to enumerate (eg. compound electricity and space over time), so fees help sustain collections. 

-Fees could be mutually beneficial by providing benefit and incentive to those organizing logistics of collection trips.

(b) Up-front payments;

-This could be like an honorarium for being hosted and helped.

-It could also be structured in multiple ways, such as an advance on royalty payments from owning a portion of the intellectual property.

(c) Milestone payments;

-An especially useful structure if the project happens in phases or at different scales over time. 

-It keeps parties engaged and can be built in alignment with the project milestones in the grant or contract plan that supports the work.

(d) Payment of royalties;

-People don’t always know what the future brings. Depending on the project, managing royalties over time can be hard. Royalties could be for a 5 year term and then be scheduled for renegotiation, or set at an amount but initiated only once there is monetary benefit coming from the use of the biological resource. 

(e) License fees in case of commercialization;

(f) Special fees to be paid to trust funds supporting conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;

-Supporting a conservation fund is a creative way of ensuring there are benefits to a region; it can leverage the auditing and advisory structures 501(c)(3)s or other organizations already have put in place to track delivery of benefits. 

(g) Salaries and preferential terms where mutually agreed;

-Especially lucrative if time someone is expected to work on a project can be quantified and if people are on soft money or 9 month salary terms. 

(h) Research funding;

-Supporting future thematic research can help students, and universities often have specific fund accounts for these transfer and award management easier.

-It could help a specific student or researcher that is a collaborator.

(i) Joint ventures;

-This relationship encourages collaboration in innovation.

(j) Joint ownership of relevant intellectual property rights.

-This is useful especially if international intellectual collaboration persists throughout the project.

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