Transferring Research Materials

Transferring Tangible Proprietary Materials and Information

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract between the university and one or more outside entities, e.g., another university, a company, or a non-profit organization, to facilitate and govern the transfer of tangible proprietary research materials, as well as the transfer of any associated data and information. A typical MTA will include terms that specify:

  • Permitted research uses of the materials and substances created through the use of the materials
  • Publication procedures
  • Inventions and intellectual property rights procedures
  • Confidentiality obligations
  • Other standard terms

Innovation Access is the delegated authority to sign on behalf of the University of California, Davis. Most MTAs must also be signed by the PI. In many cases, Technology Transfer Services must negotiate the terms of an MTA because the MTA must be consistent with The Regents’ principles and policies, as well as federal laws and guidelines. For example, every MTA that UC Davis is authorized to sign must be in harmony with some or all of the following:

When a Principal Investigator (PI) needs to send materials to a company, for-profit entity, university or nonprofit organization, Technology Transfer Services drafts an MTA using documents that have been reviewed by the Office of Technology Transfer and the Office of General Counsel at the University of California Office of the President. When a PI needs to receive materials from a company, for-profit entity, university or nonprofit organization, Technology Transfer Services usually has to use the MTA of the entity or organization providing the materials.

A PI that needs to initiate an MTA should send a completed request form (DOC) by email to MTA@ucdavis.edu at least 60 days before the material is needed because many MTAs have to be negotiated. Nevertheless, the majority of MTAs are written, negotiated and/or fully executed within 60 days. In addition, UC is a signatory to the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) which enables UC Davis to transfer materials with numerous other universities and nonprofit organizations by using a standard letter agreement.