Geoffrey Stilwell

Dr. Stilwell’s research focuses on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.


Material Transfer Agreement Procedures

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract governing the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations, when the recipient intends to use it for his/her own research purposes. Biological materials, such as reagents, cell lines, cultures, proteins, nucleotides, bacteria, plasmids, vectors, and other proprietary physical materials are the most frequently transferred.

MTAs specify the rights, obligations, and restrictions of the providing and receiving parties, with respect to issues such as:

  • Ownership of materials and modifications or derivatives of the materials made by the recipient;
  • Limits on the recipient’s use of the materials and related liability;
  • Restrictions on the recipient’s ability to transfer the material, modifications, and derivatives to third parties;
  • Rights to inventions resulting from the use of materials;
  • Rights to publish research obtained through the use of materials;
  • Reporting and confidentiality obligations.

Three types of MTAs are most common at academic institutions: transfer between academic or research institutions, transfer from academia to industry, and transfer from industry to academia. Each call for different terms and conditions.

Most scientists at non-profit institutions use the NIH-approved Simple Letter of Agreement (SLA) or Uniform BioMaterial Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) approved by the Association of University Technology Managers when exchanging materials.

MTAs at Rhode Island College

MTAs for incoming materials are approved by ORGA. PIs should always be listed as the recipient scientist on the MTA. Institutions supplying materials may have their own implementing letter based on the SLA or UBMTA. In some cases, ORGA may be contacted directly by the transmitting agency or institution. Notification from the PI that the MTA has been requested will expedite the process.

Additional information on MTAs can be obtained by contacting ORGA.

Page last updated: Monday, May 10, 2010