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Transferring Research Materials or Data

When you want to transfer or receive tangible research material or raw datasets (but not databases, which are protected by copyright) with another researcher or company, whether non-profit or commercial, having an advance agreement is necessary.  The goal is to prevent misunderstandings about who has which rights to do what to/with the material, to address liability for flaws or problems that may occur, and to make sure you can publish under academic freedom.  The most common way to do this is via a material transfer agreement (MTA) or data transfer agreement (DTA).  Software and databases are protected by copyright, and require a specialized transfer agreement.  For more information on copyright, go here.  Loans of equipment, whether for commercial or research use, are done through Materiel Management to ensure they are covered by university insurance.  For more information on equipment loan agreements, go here.

It is critical that these are completed before the material or data is actually transferred.  Unfortunately, these agreements are sometimes low priority for other institutions, so advance notice can help us meet your deadlines.  To begin this process, send a completed Material Transfer Request Form (doc | pdf)  to the UC Davis InnovationAccess Material Transfer Team.  You can contact MTA@ucdavis.edu for assistance completing the form.

MTAs or DTAs involving human subjects or human materials may require an Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval or Exemption, or Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (SCRO) approval for stem cell lines, before we can sign the agreement.

DTAs involving the disclosure of patient health information should be directed to Health System Contracts, as there are particular needs to comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Most research institutions and labs are familiar with MTAs and DTAs, which can range from simple to very complex.  We try not to be any more complicated than necessary to facilitate getting the research done, but we cannot control the level of concerns of the other institution.  UC is a signatory to the Universal Biological Material Transfer Act (UBMTA), established by the NIH in 1995.  When exchanging materials with other institutions who have signed on to the program, the contract process can be simple and fast.  (UBMTA agreements must be prepared and signed by Technology Transfer Services.)  UC also has a few basic templates which are similar to forms used at other land-grant institutions, which are often accepted without further negotiation by those who regularly exchange research materials with institutions.