Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) specify the rights, obligations, and restrictions on both the providing and receiving parties with respect to important issues such as ownership, publication, intellectual property, further distribution, permitted uses, and liability.
UF Innovate provides high-quality, expedited service for material transfers while keeping UF investigators’ interests protected. As part of this service, we now have available an Agreement Portal for the imitation and online monitoring of MTAs. UF researchers can request the review and approval of an MTA for material coming into UF. UF and outside researchers can request an MTA for material to be sent from UF.
For questions related to Material Transfer Agreements, including contract terms and request for signature authority, please contact Penelope Gianelli, MTA Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are sending or receiving materials that are not already covered by another agreement, you are required to use an MTA that meets the legal and policy requirements of the University of Florida. If you are sending de-identified human samples you may not need an MTA if you meet the requirements of the UF Guidance Document on Outgoing Human Samples without Intellectual Property.
These simple contracts establish important legal rights that could significantly impact your research such as your ability to publish or preservation of your intellectual property rights. MTAs also address regulatory compliance and liability issues.
A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract that sets the conditions of use and documents the transfer of materials from one researcher to another. The MTA protects proprietary interests in the material, restricts distribution, and covers liability terms.
If you are planning a straight-forward transfer of tangible materials (including software), then you want an MTA.
If you are planning a sponsored research study or a funded or unfunded collaboration, then you should initiate a file in UFIRST for review by the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP).
If you are planning research involving patients, protected health information, clinical testing of any kind in humans, or lab/clinical services in support of such clinical research, then you should initiate a file in ONCORE for review by the Office of Clinical Research (OCR).
If you are purchasing material or services, then you should contact Procurement Services.
MTAs are legally binding agreements and can only be signed by authorized University officials. Most MTAs have terms that bind the University. Only delegated officials have the signature authority to bind the University. Some terms impose liability or indemnification obligations that individuals don’t want to be held responsible for. Where a signature is required on an agreement on behalf of the recipient institution, an authorized employee at UF Innovate | Tech Licensing will sign your agreement on behalf of The Trustees of the University of Florida. Principal Investigators are not authorized to sign on behalf of The Trustees.
When academic researchers receive requests from colleagues for samples of research materials. Agency sponsors (primarily NIH) often require that research materials generated from funded research are made available to other researchers. To comply with federal sponsors’ desire for easy access to research materials, the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) was developed. The UBMTA provides a record of the material transfer, and prohibits the recipient from transferring the material to others without the written consent of the material provider. Depending upon the material and the intellectual property involved, an MTA that is more detailed than the UBMTA may be required.
When a researcher at UF requires materials from a company. Academic researchers may seek industrial materials for their research, which will always be accompanied by an MTA. Because industry frequently has substantial investments and revenues at stake, an industrial MTA is usually more restrictive than a UBMTA.
MTA’s from industry often contain restrictive language in the areas of publication, patent rights, and licensing. Often, companies want the right to block or edit our right to publish, which contradicts the concept of academic freedom.
In the area of patents, the company often wishes to own all rights — title and interest — to inventions arising from the use of the material; a position not acceptable to the University.
In the area of licensing, companies may ask for a royalty-free, exclusive or non-exclusive, license to our future patent rights giving us no incentive to file any patents on the work done with their material.
In short, many of these agreements contain language that must be negotiated!
When companies request a research material from UF. Companies often request samples of research material. These requests are handled in a few different ways, depending on the following: the material is not patentable, the material is currently patented by UF, or the material is not yet patented (or publicly disclosed) and is of possible commercial value. These types of transfers are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Additional approvals required will depend on the circumstances. If materials are leaving the US, then export control review is required. If the transfer relates to human subjects, IRB approval may be required. In the case of data, you may be asked to obtain a determination that any Personal Health Information (PHI) has been de-identified in compliance with HIPAA. If materials are biohazardous or a select agent/toxin, biosafety containment standards must be met and Environmental & Health Safety (EHS) should be contacted.