The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)

Materials Transfer Agreements (MTAs) must be used whenever the University provides tangible materials to, or receives tangible materials from an outside source. The Tech Transfer Office (TTO) manages and negotiates MTAs between the University, other research institutions and commercial organizations to ensure that the research interests of the University and its researchers are protected. Key personnel from Tech Transfer are the only authorized signatories who can execute MTAs on behalf of the University. A Materials Transfer Agreement is a legal contract that governs the transfer of materials to and from the University for research purposes. Materials may include cultures, cell lines, proteins, bacteria, transgenic animals, nucleotides, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. Please contact the TTO at (413) 545-3606 or email at when you need an MTA.

Why do we need MTAs?

MTAs are needed whenever transferring or receiving materials. Most universities and organizations require that an MTA be in place between the supplier and the recipient prior to releasing or receiving any materials. UMass Amherst is no exception. It is important that the TTO review all MTAs to ensure that the University does not agree to terms that may be in conflict with the requirements of sponsored research grants, fellowships, etc. Some of the important issues to be negotiated are intellectual property rights, indemnity clauses and publication rights.

An MTA is important when you are supplying materials to an outside researcher because the MTA protects you and the University by restricting use of the materials to academic research. It can also prevent commercial exploitation of your material, control release of the materials to a third party, and ensure you are appropriately acknowledged in publications.

Download MTA Guidelines

Download MTA Request Form in Word