Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a legal contract governing the transfer of proprietary research material, including biological or chemical samples or materials that are infectious, hazardous or subject to special regulations, from one party to another. An “Outgoing MTA” should be used when a University researcher provides external researchers with particular University materials. An “Incoming MTA” is used when external entities or individual researchers provide materials to a University researcher.

MTAs are designed to protect the providing organization from any potential liability and may even restrict the use and further distribution of those materials. A MTA can also give providers certain rights to the results of the research in which the material or information is to be used.

MTAs must be signed by authorized officials of each institution or organization. Principal Investigators (PIs) at the University are not authorized to sign MTAs.

Outgoing MTA Process. PIs should use the Principal Investigator Checklist for Outgoing Material Transfer Agreements for Biological and Chemical Materials in the University’s Research Management System (RMS) ( to obtain approval to transmit materials to other institutions or entities. Complete the information requested online and electronically submit the form to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). EHS will review for any compliance issues.  Upon EHS approval, the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) will work with you to generate a MTA. OSP or EHS may request additional information before sending the Outgoing MTA to the external institution for review and signature. Upon return of the signed MTA from the external institution, an authorized signator of the University will sign the MTA and notify the PI that materials may be sent to the external institution. It is important to follow any instructions provided by EHS for shipping the materials.

Incoming MTA Process. To initiate the Incoming MTA process, PIs should complete, sign, and submit to OSP the MTA Expediting Form for Receiving Materials (MTA-Q).

OSP will draft and email an Incoming MTA to the outside institution for review and signature. In the event that an outside institution provides its Incoming MTA template, email the MTA template to OSP for review and acceptance.

Refer to OSP’s website for more information on Material Transfer Agreements.

OSP handles most MTAs, but if an MTA is connected to an industry-sponsored research project, OIE will negotiate the MTA. Templates of the incoming and outgoing MTAs and the expediting form/questionnaire for PIs can be found on the OIE Templates page.

Pertinent Office(s):

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