Frequently Asked Questions for MTAs

Why do I need a Material Transfer Agreement?

To protect the intellectual and other property rights of the Material provider while permitting research with the Material to proceed.

What happens if I do not use a Material Transfer Agreement to transfer or receive material?

Any intellectual property rights in the Material will not be protected if Material is transferred without an agreement in place.

How long does it take for your office to complete a Material Transfer Agreement?

Our office is committed to reviewing and processing each Material Transfer Agreement submitted to our office as quickly as possible. With the implementation of UCLA onlineMTA you will be able to track the progress of each of your material transfer requests, and our office is always available to answer any questions you might have.

Each company and institution providing materials is different and turnaround time is predicated in large part on both the type of agreement used as well as the response from the provider. Some agreements can be turned around in one day and some may take several months to complete.

The best way to assure that your material transfer agreement is processed as quickly as possible is to make the request as early as possible and submit any additional approvals or forms that may be needed (e.g. IRB, IBC, or PI Policy 900 Exemption Letter).

Who has authority to sign a Material Transfer Agreement?

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 in the Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research will sign your agreement on behalf of The Regents of the University of California.  Principal Investigators are not authorized to sign on behalf of The Regents. 

What types of Materials can be sent or received using a Material Transfer Agreement?

In general, most Material can be sent as long as the proper approvals are in place and the research is not a Clinical Trial or involve a purchase of $5,000 or more.  The following are typical Materials that can be sent or received:

  • Biological Materials: antibodies, transgenic and knock-out mice, cDNA, plasmids, reagents, proteins, recombinant proteins, vectors, human embryonic stem cells, etc.
  • Drugs from pharmaceutical companies
  • Data: access to databases, e.g. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York Morgue, etc.
  • Computer Software