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Material Transfer Agreements (MTA)


  • What is a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)?

    A Material Transfer Agreement (MTAs) is a contract that protects your intellectual property (IP) when you either provide or receive research materials to and from other institutions or corporate entities. Research materials include, but are not limited to, cell lines, cultures, bacteria, nucleotides, proteins, transgenic animals, pharmaceuticals, or chemicals. Each exchange of research material requires an MTA. For repeated exchanges of the same research material, standardized MTAs can help streamline the process. CoMotion’s Agreements Group can help you efficiently transfer research materials.

    At the University of Washington, MTAs refer to agreements for the transfer of research materials at no charge. Materials being purchased follow procurement procedures. Materials being sold, or for use in services, follow goods and services procedures. Cost recovery fees to the lab (that are part of an outgoing MTA) are processed through CoMotion.

  • What types of materials require MTAs?

    Research materials that require MTAs include, but are not limited to, cell lines, cultures, transgenic animals, and pharmaceuticals, among others.

  • Why are MTAs important?

    MTAs are important because they protect UW intellectual property rights, limit UW liability, and fairly credit the developer of the materials.

  • What office is authorized to manage MTAs at the UW?

    The Agreements Group within UW CoMotion manages all outgoing MTAs for research. CoMotion also manages incoming MTAs for research when the research is not funded by a current sponsored program managed by OSP.

    If the MTA for incoming material is for work funded under a current a Sponsored Program, then the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is responsible for the MTA.

  • What if the material is being used in a service rather than for research?

    If materials are transferred pursuant to a service being provided by UW, then any terms governing the management of incoming materials will be handled as part of the service agreement and reviewed at the department or school level. The Attorney General Office can provide legal support for these agreements. In School of Medicine, the Dean’s office can provide support. Care needs to be taken to ensure the entity purchasing the service from UW does not receive any intellectual property or other rights other than the results of the service itself as they directly relate to the provided materials.

  • What if the material is being purchased?

    If materials are being acquired through purchase, normal procurement procedures should be followed. Procurement will advise on terms if needed.

  • Who should I contact for assistance with an MTA?

    UW researchers should contact the UW CoMotion Agreements Group, either by email mta-group@uw.edu or by phone (206-543-3970). If the MTA is embedded in a Sponsored Research Agreement then the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is responsible for the MTA. UW CoMotion and OSP are the only units of the UW authorized to review and sign MTAs that transfer research materials at no charge.

Incoming MTA for research that is not part of a sponsored program

CoMotion’s Agreements Group can help you complete incoming research material transfers, starting with these steps.

Outgoing Not-For-Profit Research MTA

To request an MTA for biological materials from the UW, please complete this form.

Outgoing For-Profit Research MTAs

CoMotion’s Agreements Group reviews for-profit MTAs with you to determine the most appropriate document for the transfer of materials. See detailed steps by clicking the button below.

Transfer of Human Biological Materials

Find information by clicking the button below. Additional information can be found on the Office of Research site.