Technology Transfer Terms

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Technology Transfer Terms

Material Transfer Agreements

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a document that is used by scientists and their institutions when they wish to transfer materials to other scientists and institutions. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Simple Letter Agreement for the transfer of materials protects the scientist and the NIH against liability for improper use of materials.

Although the NIH MTA is designed to both provide and receive materials, some institutions will prefer to use their own MTA when they are providing materials. Many of these agreements are acceptable to the NIH, and many are not. MTAs provided by outside organizations may contain clauses that are not consistent with NIH policy and/or federal law. Signing one of these agreements could severely impede a scientist's ability to carry out his or her research or to publish in a timely fashion.

A Uniform Biological Materials Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) has also been implemented in an effort to streamline the process of transferring materials. The UBMTA is an MTA that NIH and more than 120 institutions have agreed to use. Among institutions that have signed the UBMTA Master Agreement, materials can be transferred upon execution of an Implementing Letter.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA):

Facts You Should Know:

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Last Reviewed: November 8, 2010