Research Support: Funding, Materials, & Data

The Technology Transfer Process

Technology transfer is the process of transitioning technologies from the research lab to the marketplace. Contact UCLA TDG to discuss your research and the possibility of patenting or copyrighting your ideas.

Introduction to Transferring Research Materials at UCLA

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a written contract entered into by a provider and a recipient of research material that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations. At UCLA, the UCLA Technology Development Group (TDG) reviews and approves incoming and outgoing MTAs.

Do I need a Material Transfer Agreement?

Question 1

Will the Material you are receiving or providing be used in or on living humans? If your answer is NO, please skip to Question 2. If your answer to this question is YES, please review the following information:

  • The Material Transfer Agreement Office does not have authority to negotiate agreements with for-profit entities for research in or on living humans.
  • If the material is to be provided by a for-profit entity, please contact the UCLA School of Medicine Office of Clinical Trials
  • If the material is to be provided by a non-profit entity,  please skip to Question 3.

Question 2

Are you purchasing the Material for $5,000 or more? If your answer is NO, please skip to Question 3. If your answer is YES, please review the following information:

Question 3

Each Material Transfer Agreement submitted to the UCLA TDG requires an MTA Request Form. Please logon to UCLA onlineMTA to submit a request.

Receiving or Sending Materials

A new feature for material transfer requests, “onlineMTA” is a central site for submitting all requests for Material Transfer Agreements through a new, convenient web-based form. The onlineMTA site will also allow investigators to track the status of their pending and completed MTA requests submitted after July 1, 2009. Starting January 4, 2010, all MTA Requests must be submitted through UCLA onlineMTA.

Receiving or Sending Materials with UCLA onlineMTA

To Receive Materials

(1) Incoming Material Transfer Via onlineMTA

The UCLA Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research requires that a Material Transfer Request Form be completed before your Material Transfer Agreement can be reviewed. This process has been streamlined through the development of an online smart form and workspace called onlineMTA. 

(2) Financial Disclosure Forms

UCLA Form 700U and Addendum
  • Any request to receive materials from a non-academic or non-governmental provider must be accompanied by Financial Disclosure Forms unless the provider has been deemed exempt by the Office of the President.
  • Under UCLA Policies 150 and 925, the Principal Investigator and all other UCLA Investigators who share responsibility for the design, conduct or reporting of research must disclose their personal financial interests in any organization(s) that will provide materials for use in such research.
  • California law requires that a completed form with original signatures be maintained on file. Please send the signed forms to the attention of the ISR/MTA Team at MC 719148.
UCLA Form 700U Supplemental
  • In the event that the Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator, or any other personnel have identified a positive conflict disclosure this form must be used to describe the conflict and provide information used by the UCLA Conflict of Interest Review Committee to determine whether the conflict can be managed and if the material transfer may proceed.


To Send Materials

Outgoing Material Transfer Via onlineMTA

The UCLA Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research requires that a Material Transfer Request Form be completed before your Material Transfer Agreement can be reviewed. This process has been streamlined through the development of an online smart form and workspace called onlineMTA. 

If you are not sure whether or not your transfer requires a Material Transfer Agreement, please refer to Introduction To Transferring Research Material at UCLA.

If you have questions or if you would like additional information, please contact the MTA team at

Who is Managing Your Material Transfer Request

Our primary focus upon receipt of your material transfer request is to expedite review, negotiation and execution of the contract to facilitate the transfer. Our practice is “first-in, first-out” to make sure substantive action is taken on your material transfer request within one business day of assignment to a member of the TDG team.

The Principal Investigator will receive an email notification identifying the individual on the TDG team assigned to your material transfer request and if at any point there are questions and you are not sure who to contact, you can contact

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
What are the types of Material Transfer Agreements?

Material Transfer Between Academic Institutions

When academic researchers receive requests from colleagues for samples of research materials. Agency sponsors (primarily NIH) often require that research materials generated from funded research are made available to other researchers. To comply with federal sponsors' desire for easy access to research materials, the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) was developed. The UBMTA provides a record of the material transfer, and prohibits the recipient from transferring the material to others without the written consent of the material provider.

Material Transfer from Industry to UCLA

When a researcher at UCLA requires materials from a company. Academic researchers may seek industrial materials for their research, which will always be accompanied by an MTA. Because industry frequently has substantial investments and revenues at stake, an industrial MTA is usually more restrictive than a UBMTA. 

MTA's from industry often contain restrictive language in the areas of publication, patent rights, and licensing. Often, companies want the right to block or edit our right to publish, which contradicts the concept of academic freedom. 

In the area of patents, the company often wishes to own all rights - title and interest - to inventions arising from the use of the material; a position not acceptable to the University.

In the area of licensing, companies may ask for a royalty-free, exclusive or non-exclusive, license to our future patent rights giving us no incentive to file any patents on the work done with their material. 

In short, many of these agreements contain language that must be negotiated!

Material Transfer from UCLA to Industry

When companies request a research material from UCLA. Companies often request samples of research material.  These requests are handled in a few different ways, depending on the following: the material is not patentable, the material is currently patented by UCLA, or the material is not yet patented (or publicly disclosed) and is of possible commercial value.  These types of transfer are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Funding Opportunities

Find funding opportunities for your research through UCLA TDG.

Find Funding

If you have questions or if you would like additional information, please contact the MTA team at

Additional Information