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Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)

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

Why do we need MTAs?

MTAs are needed whenever transferring or receiving materials. Most universities, including UMass Amherst, and other organizations require that an MTA be in place between the supplier and the recipient prior to releasing or receiving any materials.t is important that the TTO review all MTAs to ensure that the University does not agree to terms that may 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 the release of the materials to a third party, and ensure you are appropriately acknowledged in publications.

MTA Guidelines

  1. If you wish to send or receive materials for research purposes, please contact TTO early in the process so we can take the burden of paperwork off your shoulders. Call or email us and we can help you through the process:, (413) 577-2126 or (413) 545-3606.

  2. Email TTO any agreements which a Provider party has sent to you. We will review and advise on how to proceed.

  3. TTO will communicate with the other party to work out any agreement terms that may be contrary to UMass researchers’ interests.

  4. TTO will let you know if your signature is required to fully execute the MTA.

  5. In most cases TTO takes care of emailing, postal mailing or UPS delivery of documents, if required.

  6. Payments: If payment is required, please make arrangements through your department for paying an invoice, or shipping and handling.

These guidelines establish the principals and procedures to be followed whenever the University provides tangible materials to, or receives tangible materials from an outside source. Article D. Administrative Procedures – Tangible Research Materials (page -106.8- (UMA & UMB) Intellectual Property Policy.