Material Transfer Process

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) are contracts governing the transfer of tangible research property from one entity to another.  You can find more information on what an MTA is and when and why they’re used here.  The Material Transfer Process begins when you’d like to receive material from another entity, or you’ve received a request from someone for access to your material.  For both situations, a Material Transfer Initiation Form must be completed and returned to the Office of Innovation & Partnerships.  OIP will use this form to determine what type of agreement is needed and will work directly with the other party to negotiate and execute that agreement.

OUTGOING Material Transfer Initiation Form

INCOMING Material Transfer Initiation Form


If the recipient of the material you’ll be providing is a non-profit organization (e.g., another university), we generally suggest the use of the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA).  Our office will check the UBMTA signatories list to determine if the person requesting your material works at a signatory to the UBMTA.  If not, we’ll use another non-profit friendly MTA template to make negotiation as easy as possible.

For materials sent to for-profit entities, OIP will likely be involved in more rigorous negotiations.  We’ll work directly with the company to quickly achieve mutually agreeable terms.


The initiation form for incoming materials is of particular importance so that OIP may verify you have all required institutional approvals in place (e.g., IRB, IACUC, IBC, etc.).  Even if the material provider does not require an MTA be executed, you must still submit an initiation form.

If the material is coming from another university or another non-profit organization, they may use the UBMTA, which requires no negotiation.  If they prefer we use their agreement, it is likely that some negotiation will be required.  If the material provider does send a draft agreement to you, please forward that to OIP along with the incoming material transfer initiation form.  We’ll do our best to reach swift agreement with the provider so that you may receive your material as quickly as possible.

Receiving material from for-profits can be a more lengthy process.  Their material transfer agreements usually require significant negotiation.  OIP will work directly with the entity to come to mutual agreement.

In all instances where an agreement is used, OIP will negotiate the agreement directly with the provider or recipient.  We only ask that you complete and forward to us the appropriate initiation form and send us any draft agreements they may have provided to you.  We’ll let you know as soon as the agreement is executed and when you may send or take receipt of the material.  We’ll also keep you apprised of our progress throughout the process.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.