NIU Contract/Agreement Templates

SPA reviews and negotiates agreements for incoming sponsored projects agreements, as well as select non-financial agreements, such as incoming material transfer agreements (MTAs), user agreements, and teaming agreements.

Whenever possible, we will submit NIU's preferred agreement templates to sponsors for their review and consideration.

Standard research agreement

The standard research agreement template should be used for all projects under which patentable intellectual property is likely to be developed. This agreement includes language that protects Investigators' and the university's rights to publish, and to pursue patent protection and commercialization.

Standard research agreement template

Project agreement

The project agreement template is recommended for projects on which patentable intellectual property is not expected to be developed. These types of projects may involve providing a service, such as product testing, for a sponsor. Investigators' rights to publish the results of the project are protected.

Project agreement template


The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive federal funding program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in federal research/research and development (R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

SBIR Subcontract Template (from business to NIU)

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another federal program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is the expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR's most important role is to bridge the gap between the performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

STTR subcontract template (from business to NIU)

Material transfer agreement (incoming)

A material transfer agreement (MTA) governs the exchange of tangible research materials, primarily biological research materials, between a variety of types of organizations: industry, government laboratories, laboratories in universities, hospitals, or independent research institutes. An MTA ensures the investigator is given proper credit for developing the material and that any obligations to the research sponsor are met. The MTA protects intellectual property rights of the material and limits the liability associated with the transfer.

On March 8, 1995, the National Institutes of Health - on behalf of the Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control - published the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) and a simple letter agreement for the transfer of non-proprietary biological material. For institutions that have signed the UBMTA Master Agreement, materials can be transferred under the terms of the UBMTA upon execution of an implementing letter for the particular transfer.

The UBMTA is used to simplify and standardize the exchange of biological materials for research purposes. The UBMTA is NOT to be used if the transfer is between NIU and an industry or for-profit institution or if a novel use or discovery made from the material may result in a patent application the material is intended to be commercialized.

Keeping good laboratory records is important in conducting material transfer agreement activities. Such records can show the materials were used properly and can help to resolve invention ownership issues. Please see our guidelines for maintaining lab notebooks.