How We Work Overview

Project-Centered Team Science

NTP uses a team-science approach combined with a project-centered research model. This allows for:

  • Consensus-based decision making
  • Shared resources and capabilities
  • Flexibility of research teams

We conduct most of our work with the aid of contract research organizations (CROs), which provide capabilities that can be used, as needed, across the program. 


Work at NTP is collaborative in nature. Key features include a project-centered research model, interagency agreements with NTP-participating agencies, and research and development contracts for work conducted offsite at CROs. Our staff regularly works with:

  • Academic institutions
  • Contract laboratories
  • Environmental groups
  • Industry associations
  • Other government agencies
Learn More About NTP Partnership Mechanisms

NTP uses various mechanisms to expand capabilities or capacity. These include:

  • Research and Development Contracts (R&D)
  • Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)
  • Intra/Inter-Agency Agreements (IAAs)
  • Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)

An MOU is an agreement used to coordinate partnerships with other entities. An MOU formally outlines mutual expectations for how the parties intend to work together. MOUs usually involve no financial commitment.

An IAA is an agreement between different federal agencies (Inter) or an agreement between entities within the same federal agency (Intra).

An MTA sets terms for the one-way transfer of tangible research materials (such as slides or tissue samples) between two entities. An MTA defines and protects the rights of both parties with respect to the materials and any derivatives. MTAs can also be used in collaborations.

Open Access

As an interagency program focused on public health, NTP offers opportunities for non-government organizations, scientists and researchers, and the public to provide input into our programs and activities, participate at advisory group activities, and respond to requests for information. We strive to make our meetings, procedures, and data publicly available. Some examples are:

  • Nominations. Any individual or organization, inside or outside of government, can nominate a substance, issue, or topic to NTP for consideration through our nomination form.
  • Public comments. We issue Federal Register Notices to solicit public comments on draft reports and monographs and announce upcoming meetings, events, and other program-related activities.
  • Webinars and workshops. We convene a variety of events to highlight ongoing research activities. Recent examples include Converging on Cancer and Shift Work at Night, Artificial Light at Night, and Circadian Disruption.