Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)


Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) address the exchange of research materials between individuals at separate organizations and, among other issues, address ownership, intellectual property, publications, and liability related to the research materials. At UNH, we try to use the UBMTA (see below for additional explanation) whenever possible to streamline the implementation of these agreements.

What is a Material Transfer Agreement?

An MTA is a binding written contract between parties that governs the use of exchanged material. MTAs generally reflect the fact that one of the parties has a proprietary interest in the material under exchange and the other party intends to use the material for his/her own research purposes. Examples of materials may include: assay materials, monoclonal antibodies, cell lines, mouse strains, plant varieties, technical data, software, confidential information, integrated circuit designs, blueprints, products, processes, devices, fabricated equipment, or any unique material. Material resulting from one's academic activities (such as a syllabus or course notes) and purchased material would not usually fall under the parameters of an MTA. Intra-UNH transfers of material are not subject to MTAs.

Benefits of Material Transfer Agreements

MTAs provide UNH faculty, staff, and students with many benefits:

  • Define and protect rights to innovations, intellectual property rights, and commercialization resulting from material
  • Rights to improvements to material and/or innovations (including patentable inventions) made using material
  • Timely sharing of materialControl over the distribution of material
  • Time to comment on any non-UNH proposed publication regarding material
  • Acknowledgment of UNH investigators in publications resulting from use of their material Ensuring that recipients exercise care in handling material
  • Provide safeguards that recipients will follow relevant federal guidelines relating to recombinant DNA, protection of human subjects in research, and the use of animals

UNH Guidelines for Material Transfer Agreements

To facilitate transfers of materials, UNH has established MTA guidelines. In general, UNH will agree to make material in which it has a proprietary interest available to other organizations upon the execution of an MTA to provide for conditional use of the material by the receiving party. UNH will also facilitate the transfer of material from outside organizations to UNH by providing institutional review, negotiation, and coordination of all MTAs from external organizations. UNH faculty, staff, and students are responsible for compliance with the terms of the MTA and safe use of the material.

Unless there is a proprietary interest by a third party, intra-UNH transfers of material are not subject to MTAs. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Senior Vice Provost for Research (SVPR) reserves all rights, authority, and responsibility to protect UNH's interests as described in the UNH Intellectual Property Policy, other applicable policies, and as determined by consultation with other UNH offices and committees. As such, the SVPR reserves the right to decline any request to sign an MTA.

UNH Procedures for Material Transfer Agreements

The investigator should first determine if an MTA is applicable (Click to see when an MTA applies.)  If an MTA is applicable, there are 3 choices:

  • A Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) between participating entities
  • A providing organization's MTA for inbound material
  • A UNH MTA for outbound material
Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) for Inbound or Outbound Material

UNH and several hundred other academic institutions and private organizations have adopted and signed a master UBMTA promoted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). If an MTA is needed to exchange materials and the recipient and provider entities are both UBMTA participants, a UBMTA Implementing Letter should be used.

For outbound material, the investigator must first complete and submit the Information Required to Initiate a Material Transfer Agreement form to UNHInnovation. UNHInnovation will then prepare the UMBTA Implementing Letter, which will incorporate by reference the standard terms and conditions of the UBMTA.

Inbound Material Not Subject to a UBMTA

MTAs from external organizations are reviewed, negotiated, and signed by UNHInnovation on behalf of the Senior Vice Provost for Research. Such reviews might include consultation with other UNH departments or committees, such as the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS), Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA), and the UNH Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Once negotiated, the MTA is signed by UNHInnovation and the specified recipient. Material received by UNH under an MTA may be inventoried by OEHS or other appropriate offices as necessary. UNH investigators may be asked periodically about the disposition of such material. Faculty sponsoring visiting scientists should disclose all material that is to be used on UNH premises.

Outbound Material Not Subject to a UBMTA

The investigator must first complete and submit an Information Required to Initiate a Material Transfer Agreement form to UNHInnovation. UNHInnovation staff will use the information to prepare and negotiate the MTA with the proposed recipient organization, and coordinate with any necessary UNH departments or committees, including, when appropriate, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS), to assure that material to be shipped complies with all applicable federal and state regulations. Once UNHInnovation receives a fully signed MTA, UNHInnovation will notify the UNH investigator, who then may package and ship the material.

Additional Information

Contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety for information regarding handling of inbound and outbound materials.


Contact Information

Jenna Matheny
Director of Technology Transfer
(603) 862-2422

MTA Forms