Quick Guide to Material Transfer Agreements at UC Berkeley


A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations, when the recipient intends to use it for his or her own research purposes. The MTA defines the rights of the provider and the recipient with respect to the materials and any derivatives. Biological materials, such as reagents, cell lines, plasmids, and vectors, are the most frequently transferred materials, but MTAs may also be used for other types of materials, such as chemical compounds and even some types of software.

Three types of MTAs are most common at academic institutions: transfer between academic or research institutions, transfers from academia to another type of provider (company, laboratory, or agency) and transfers from these providers to academia. Each call for different terms and conditions.

At Berkeley, incoming MTAs are processed by the Industry Alliances Office (IAO) while outgoing MTAs are processed by the Office of Technology Transfer (OTL).

To expedite the process of negotiation, Berkeley investigators are asked to complete and sign an MTA Review Form and submit it with the MTA.

For additional information on how to process incoming and outgoing MTAs, please see the Frequently Asked Questions and guidance provided by UC Berkeley’s Office of Intellectual Property & Industry Research Alliances (IPIRA).