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Material Transfer Agreements

What is a material transfer agreement (MTA)?

A MTA is a type of enforceable agreement (contract) used when two or more parties are shipping, sharing, loaning, or sometimes selling physical research materials. The MTA will define ownership of the material and its associated intellectual property rights. Each party's rights and responsibilities with regard to the material will be defined.

Are there different types of MTAs?

Yes. Texas State University uses two types of MTA.

  • Other than Biological

    The Other than Biological MTA should be used for the transfer of equipment, research tools, proprietary procedures or know-how. Any transferred material that is not biological in nature would fall under this type of MTA.

  • Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement

    The Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) should be used when the transferred material is biological in nature, such as fish stock, cell lines, DNA samples, etc.

When is a MTA required?

A MTA is required whenever material is being transferred between two or more parties. However, there are some exceptions. The Contract and Intellectual Property (IP) Specialist and the Compliance Officer in the Technology Transfer and Contracts (TTC) will review the circumstances and make a determination. Many institutions also have a MTA policy and may require their own documentation. Even hand-deliveries and pick ups require an agreement.

When should I begin the process?

The process should begin at least 30 days prior to shipment to allow time for review and negotiation. This includes material being brought onto campus. If the provider does not have a MTA procedure in place, the Contract and IP specialist in the Pre and Post Award Support Services will provide a template.

How do I know if I need a MTA?

Fill in the appropriate questionnaire and contact the Technology Transfer and Contracts. We will answer any questions you may have.

Examples of Materials

  • Cell lines
  • DNA libraries
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Organisms
  • Reagents
  • Growth factors
  • Drugs
  • Clones/Cloning tools
  • Animal models
  • Computer Software
  • Devices/equipment
  • Chemicals