Data & Biospecimen Sharing
Photo of data being represented by blue code and a shield in the center representing security

Policy & Guidance

Protecting patient data and sensitive information is our top priority. 

Make an Appointment
Data Security, Privacy & Sharing

To minimize the risk of unauthorized disclosure of patient data and other sensitive information, data security must be a top priority for all. Research performed at the University of Michigan is governed by related institutional policies.

Learn more about patient data general security guidelines on Research A-ZData Security & Privacy

Data & Biospecimen Sharing

University of Michigan policy is that data and biospecimens should be collected under transparent, informed consent that permits and promotes the maximal use and value of the data and biospecimens consistent with the permission of the donors. When considering the sharing of data and biospecimens, U-M policy reinforces that…

  • Sharing expedites translation of research.
  • Our missions are facilitated by partnerships with outside entities.
  • Partnerships with industry provide many forms of value.
  • Our ethical responsibility is to inform research participants with whom their data/biospecimens will be shared; informed consents and agreements must be explicit about sharing with commercial entities and who may derive financial benefit.
  • Transfer the minimum necessary.
Sharing With Other Academic Institutions & Governmental Organizations

When sharing with external non-profit collaborators, for instance on a multi-site project, the following are required:

  1. Data Sharing Agreement
  2. Unfunded Agreement in the eResearch Proposal Management System
Sharing with Industry

View the University of Michigan Policy for the Transfer of Human Data & Biospecimens to Industry and Non-Academic and Non-Governmental Entities. (U-M level-1 authentication is required)

When individual-level patient/participant data or biospecimens are to be transferred to an external for-profit organization, please download and complete the Data & Biospecimen Sharing Checklist and submit to [email protected]. We’ll then follow up to assist with your request for approval from the Medical School Human Data & Biospecimen Release Committee. The following are required for a successful request for data or biospecimen sharing with industry:

  1. Submission of the Data & Biospecimen Sharing Checklist to [email protected].

  2. Review and approval by the Medical School Human Data & Biospecimen Release Committee and the Dean of the Medical School prior to requesting that the appropriate central unit(s) negotiate an agreement.

  3. Receipt of approval communication with indication of required contract terms and fees.

  4. Request to the appropriate central unit(s) for negotiation of the appropriate agreement through
    eResearch.  Please attach approval communication as an uploaded document in the eRPM request.

Medical School Human Data & Biospecimen Release Committee

When individual-level patient/participant data or biospecimens are to be transferred, per policy the transfer is subject to review and approval by the Medical School Human Data & Biospecimen Release Committee and the Dean of the Medical School prior to requesting that the appropriate central unit(s) negotiate an agreement. 

  • Steve Kunkel, Ph.D., Interim Executive Vice Dean for Research, Interim Chief Scientific Officer, co-chair
  • Ray Hutchinson, M.D., Associate Dean for Regulatory Affairs, co-chair
  • Sachin Kheterpal, M.D., M.B.A., Associate Dean for Research IT
  • Judy Birk, J.D., Director for IRBMed
  • Vici Blanc, Ph.D., Director, Central Biorepository
  • Tiana Korley, J.D., Associate General Counsel
  • Kelly Sexton, Ph.D., Associate VPR – Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships
  • Craig Reynolds, Executive Director of Research & Sponsored Projects
  • Kayte Spector-Bagdady, J.D., MBioethics, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Sheryl Flanagan, Ph.D., Data Protections Coordinator, Data Office for Clinical & Translational Research
  • Faculty at-large
  • Staffed by Data Office: Erin Kaleba, M.P.H., Director for the Data Office for Clinical & Translational Research

Consultants to Committee:

  • Drew Bennett, M.B.A., Associate Director Software Licensing, Technology Transfer
  • Patrick Wood, J.D., Assistant Managing Project Representative, Office of Research & Sponsored Projects
  • Mike Ranella, M.B.A., M.P.H., Business Development Associate Director, Fast Forward Medical Innovation 
Sharing Policy Principles
Principles Governing Human Data and Biospecimen Transfers to Industry or Non-Academic & Non-Governmental Entities

Sharing human data and biospecimens accelerates biomedical research and advances the mission of Michigan Medicine. Patients and research participants donate their data and specimens in the hopes of advancing knowledge, improving care, and benefiting patients and society.

Michigan Medicine takes the guardianship of these entrusted resources seriously. As such, data and biospecimens should be collected under transparent informed consent that permits and promotes the maximal use and value of the data and biospecimens consistent with the permissions of the donors.

Sharing and transfer of human data and biospecimens shall occur in accordance with sound scientific and ethical principles and shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies.

All Michigan Medicine patient and research participant data and biospecimens are resources owned by the Regents of the University of Michigan (U-M) and are governed by university policies and procedures. This policy applies to Michigan Medicine human data and biospecimens transferred to for-profit or commercial entities, non-academic foundations, and professional societies. The policy does not apply to transfers to government agencies and other academic medical centers, universities, and research institutes, nor does it govern sharing of data for purposes of patient care or clinical trial site activity.

  1. Data/biospecimen sharing expedites translation of research into knowledge, practice, and products that improve human health and well-being.
  2. As a research institution, our goal to advance medical science and the health of the communities we serve is facilitated through partnerships with external entities, including other medical centers, universities, governmental agencies, foundations, and industry.
  3. Productive and equitable partnerships with industry provide many forms of value to U- M and society. Relationships that encourage partnership with regard to data/biospecimens, innovation, personnel, and dissemination have the ability to support our core missions of research, patient care, and education.
  4. Michigan Medicine recognizes its ethical responsibility to inform participants with whom their data and biospecimens will be shared as well as to ensure that transfers of data/biospecimens occur in accordance with appropriate human subjects and privacy approvals and protections. To that end, informed consents and agreements must be explicit about sharing with a commercial entity and who may derive financial benefit.
  5. Every effort should be made to transfer the minimum information and/or biospecimens. When possible aggregate, summary-level patient and participant data should be transferred or the analyses performed within HIPAA-compliant U-M computing environments, as available.
  6. Data and biospecimens, whether collected, acquired, stored, or managed, are assets of the Regents of the University of Michigan and Michigan Medicine, not individual investigators.
  7. U-M retains ownership of all data/biospecimens transferred. Recipients of transfers may not re-identify, retain, package, or sell Michigan Medicine human data or biospecimens or their derivatives without express written approval from U-M.
  8. U-M human data and biospecimens transferred under this policy should recover appropriate value, including defraying historical acquisition costs, capturing maintenance costs, recovering preparation and transfer costs, and securing the market value for the resource(s), as applicable.
  9. The benefit/risk assessment and approval of the valuation of transfers will be governed at the level of the Medical School, not by individual faculty or departments.
Sharing Policy Workflow

Follow this step-by-step process of the Sharing Policy. 

  1. Submit: The Project Team will complete the Data & Biospecimen Sharing Checklist;
  2. and submit by email to [email protected].
  3. Issue Approval: The Data Office will issue an approval communication that contains required contract terms and fees.
  4. Negotiate Budget: The Project Team will negotiate finances with the sponsor to include a $5000 medial school transfer fee and additional project team expenses for data assembly, delivery, storage, etc.
  5. Route Agreement: The Project Team will route the draft agreement through the eRPM (Proposal Management) System
    • Including the budget with appropriate costs
    • Copy of the Approval from DOCTR attached
  6. Issue Contract: ORSP or OTT (depending on type of agreement routed) will handle negotiation to final contract, and contract notification will be issued.
  7. Collect Data Infrastructure Fee: The Data Office will arrange for the collection of the $5,000
  8. Complete Sponsor Interaction: The Project Team arranges for invoicing the sponsor for project costs (including fixed Data Infrastructure costs and data/tissue transfer costs). 
Policy FAQs

The policy governs Michigan Medicine’s approach to sharing of patient-level data and biospecimens with industry, and non-academic and non-governmental entities. The main goal of the policy is to ensure that data and biospecimens shared with industry are collected under transparent informed consent that permits and promotes the maximal use and value of the data and biospecimens consistent with the permission of the donors. In addition, application of the policy ensures that the approach to sharing with industry is thoroughly documented and consistent across the organization. 

This policy is important because…

  • Sharing expedites translation of research.
  • Our missions are facilitated by partnerships with outside entities.
  • Partnerships with industry provide many forms of value.
  • Our ethical responsibility is to inform research participants with whom their data/biospecimens will be shared; informed consents and agreements must be explicit about sharing with commercial entities and who may derive financial benefit.
  • The policy-driven review process ensures transfer of the minimum necessary

The policy came into effect on July 1, 2018.  Whatever point you are in your project, the Data Office for Clinical & Translational Research team will work with your team on the next steps to take.

The policy applies to Michigan Medicine human data and biospecimens transferred to for-profit or commercial entities, non-academic foundations, and professional societies. It does not apply to transfers to governmental agencies, other academic medical centers, or universities, nor does it govern sharing of data for purposes of patient care or clinical trial site activity.

When individual-level patient/study participant data or biospecimens are to be transferred, the transfer is subject to review and approval by the Medical School Human Data & Biospecimen Release Committee on behalf of the Dean of the Medical School prior to requesting that the appropriate central unit(s) negotiate an agreement. The approval of the transfer will likely include requirements for specific contract terms and data fees that should be incorporated during the planning process.

The Data Office will facilitate investigators navigating the policy. Contact us or call (734) 615-2100.

No, clinical trials are excluded from this policy.

The Data Release Committee will need to review the project if the data to be shared are at an individual patient level; even if de-identified

Aggregate counts do not need to be reviewed by the Data Release Committee and can proceed with the existing data sharing agreement and contract terms.

Human data and biospecimens transferred to an external entity under the new transfers to industry policy must take into consideration the following three (3) forms of compensation in your external budget for the university providing these resources,  These fees should be determined and accounted for prior to presenting any budget to the sponsor for negotiation.

  1. Recovery of the costs incurred by the principal investigator or unit to prepare and transfer the samples.  This would be budgeted as direct costs to support the preparation and transfer and additionally be subject to the prevailing university indirect cost rate for the project.
  2. A universal Medical School transfer fee to defray historical and ongoing infrastructure and operational costs related to the enterprise acquisition, maintenance, and management of human data and biospecimens. The minimum fee is set at $5,000 (inclusive).
    1. This fee should be represented as a single, total cost amount and must be negotiated as a fixed fee in the external budget.  
    2. Internally, you will divide the $5,000 recovery between direct costs and indirect costs at the prevailing university indirect cost rate for the project.  If you need help with reflecting this budget item, we recommend working with the Grant Services & Analysis Office.
  3. Medical School Business Developers in Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI) and/or the Innovation Partnerships shall determine fair market value, as applicable, and will provide an additional valuation that must be included in your budget.  The valuation will be vary depending on the nature of the transfer, including the size and scope of the transfer, the age/duration of the collection, the rarity of biospecimens and/or participant population, and other relevant factors and at all times in accordance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

When your project is reviewed by the Data Release Committee, you will receive specific instructions on the second and third budget items and be put in contact with members of FFMI or Innovation Partnerships to continue with the valuation process needed prior to budgeting.

The committee will review:

  • Patient consent language; is it explicit for sharing with companies?
  • Conflict of Interest
  • IRB approval; has approval been obtained? Does an application need to be submitted?
  • Data details; are the data de-identified, limited data set, full PHI?
  • Language in agreement of proper handling of sensitive data, how it should be destroyed upon completion of the project, etc.
  • Cost recovery

The Data Office will facilitate investigators navigating the policy. Contact the team or call (734) 615-2100. 

Get started with this handy checklist!

References and Resources
Contact Us
Data Office for Clinical & Translational Research
Medical School Office of Research
North Campus Research Complex, Building 400
2800 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, 48109
Phone Number: 734-615-2100
About Us

The Data Office for Clinical & Translational Research, a unit of the Medical School Office of Research, fosters the translation of data into research that improves clinical outcomes by bridging the gap between personal health data and clinical research.