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Material Transfer Agreements Overview

TTBD is responsible for negotiating and managing Material Transfer Agreements, or MTAs. Our primary objective is to ensure that the terms of an agreement do not jeopardize an investigator's future work or academic freedoms and the institution's ability to fulfill its mission.

The investigator is responsible for providing a clear and concise description of work and for disclosing any conflicts or collaborations that may impact the terms of the agreement.

Incoming Material Transfer Request Form

MTA Frequently Asked Questions

What is an MTA?

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a legally binding agreement between institutes that protects ownership rights for material being provided by a scientist or laboratory at one institute (the provider) to a scientist or lab at another institute (the recipient). 

Examples of research materials include biological samples, compounds, and software.  The provider may share the material under conditions in a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). Most institutes that provide MTA's require that the agreement be accepted by the recipient's institutional authority before the material can be shared with the recipient.

Why do we need an MTA to send out or bring in materials?

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) are required by most academic and commercial research institute's policies to protect the intellectual property and ownership rights for shared research materials. MTAs also protect academic rights and freedoms – such as the freedom to pursue a research topic and right to publish results – for the researcher and institute providing the material as well as those receiving the research material. 

What do I do if I need materials from another institution?

After you make a request for material from the scientist (or other contact person) you may be asked to complete a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). It is the responsibility of the institution where the material originates to provide a Material Transfer Agreement. 

What do I do with the MTA that I received from another university/company?    

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) that you receive from other institutes are managed through OHSU's office of Technology Transfer and Business Development (TTBD).  If you know the TTBD Technology Development Manager and Agreements Officer that manage agreements and intellectual property for research in your lab, you should contact one of them, and provide a copy of the MTA for their review.

If you are not familiar with the TTBD office staff, contact 503-494-8200 or at for guidance.

Can I sign the MTA that I received and send it back to the university/company?

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) must be signed by an authorized official in the office of Technology Transfer and Business Development, as the legal representative for OHSU.  Most MTAs include a signature from the PI or head of the lab that is requesting the material.  The scientist's signature signifies that the researcher has read and understands the terms of the agreement.  However, a Material Transfer Agreement that is signed only by faculty/research staff does not meet OHSU's policy requirements and is not a valid agreement.

How long will it take to process my MTA?

All reasonable efforts are made to keep the amount of time to a minimum to complete every MTA.  The amount of time for completing any MTA will vary depending on the number of MTAs in process at the time yours is initiated, response time for the other institute and the need for negotiating provisions in the agreement.

Can I share materials I receive under an MTA with my colleague at OHSU or another institution?    

Whether or not material not developed at OHSU can be shared with other laboratories will depend on the Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) under which the material was obtained.  Most MTAs require that the material provided will not be shared with other laboratories, including other labs at OHSU.Refer to the MTA that was completed for the material in question to determine if the material can be shared.  If you do not have a copy of the MTA, or if the agreement is not clear to you, contact OHSU's office of Technology Transfer and Business Development for guidance.

For any additional questions, contact the office of Technology Transfer and Business Development at 503-494-8200.