Material Transfer Agreement

Submitting a Material Transfer Agreement

To submit a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) for URA review, please visit AURA Agreements.

Please note that Outgoing MTAs from the University of Chicago to Industry are reviewed and approved by The Polsky Center, not URA. All other MTAs should be submitted to URA.

What is a Material Transfer Agreement?

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a written contract between a provider and a recipient of research material. UChicago requires an MTA in order to transfer its materials to other 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.

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.

MTAs protect the rights of the parties with regard to publication, freedom of research, confidentiality, and intellectual property.

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.

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

March 9, 2023