Material Transfer Agreement

Note to Departments

To submit a Materal Tranfer Agreement (MTA) for URA review, please visit AURA Agreements which has replaced Service Now as the system of record for all research-related contracts. AURA Agreements is a contract management system offered in the same software suite as the other AURA products and will be integrated with the AURA Grants module.

The AURA Agreements module offers a single point of entry for all research-related contracts and streamlines the process for routing contracts for negotiation and signature. It also offers complete transparency of the status of the agreement and terms that are under negotiation.

For more information about this process update, please see the campus announcement made August 24, 2020.

Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a written contract between a provider and a recipient of research material. The parties to the contract may be academic, government, or commercial organizations. Sharing research products is critical to advancing scientific progress, and it is the University’s intention to facilitate the exchange of material among academic research institutions. The types of materials typically transferred under MTAs include biological materials, such as reagents, cell lines, cultures, plasmids, vectors, nucleotides, proteins, bacteria, transgenic animals, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and other proprietary physical materials.

MTAs protect the rights of the parties with regard to publication, freedom of research, confidentiality, and intellectual property. 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 type has differing terms and conditions.

Important Notes Regarding All MTAs

PI's cannot sign MTA's on behalf of the University. The agreement is always between institution A on behalf of their PI and institution B on behalf of their PI, and the only people who can sign the agreements are the institution's authorized officials.

The University's authorized official is: Jennifer A. Ponting, J.D. Associate Vice President for Research Administration & Director, URA.

Address: The URA address should be used: The University of Chicago, 6054 South Drexel Avenue, Suite 300, Chicago, Illinois, 60637-2612.

Why are MTAs important?

MTAs are important because they specify the rights, obligations, and restrictions of both 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 the materials
  • Rights to publish research obtained through the use of the materials
  • Reporting and confidentiality obligations

Each MTA must, therefore, be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. URA reviews and approves incoming and outgoing MTAs with one main exception:

Most Common Types of MTAs

1. Transfers between the University of Chicago and other academic (nonprofit) institutions

2. Transfers from the University of Chicago to Industry – Outgoing, corporate MTAs from the University to industry are reviewed and approved by The Polsky Center. No routing of this MTA through departmental, divisional or URA offices is necessary. The Polsky Center will inform these offices of the MTA so that a record is maintained of the materials being shared with Industry.

3. Transfers from Industry to the University of Chicago – Material transfers from industry to the University should be routed through the appropriate department, the division, and then to the URA.

Addgene orders and deposits will be handled internally within URA and do not need to be routed in AURA Agreements.