IP Related Agreements and Forms

Material Transfer Agreement

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contractual document that governs the exchange of academic research tools, primarily biological research tools, 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.

To Receive Materials

All incoming MTAs need to be reviewed by Sponsored Programs Administration and signed by an authorized university representative.

To Send Materials

Email the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) with a description of materials, quantity, and purpose of use at the recipient entity, along with the receiving scientist’s name, entity and contact information. Identify if the material created was created with sponsored research and whether the material is proprietary. The TTO will prepare the MTA, negotiate necessary terms of the agreement with the recipient institution and obtain appropriate signatures.

Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement

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.

Learn if your institution or the participating institution is a signatory to the Master UBMTA Agreement.

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
  • A novel use or discovery of the material may result in a patent application the material is intended to be commercialized

For any of the above reasons, please use NIU’s Material Transfer Agreement or contact the TTO staff for assistance.

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