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Material Transfer Agreement Examples

Material transfer agreements (MTAs) are legal agreements that govern the transfer of research materials between two parties. These agreements are important for researchers and institutes as they help establish clear rules and expectations when sharing materials such as biological samples, cell lines, or genetic materials. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at MTAs and provide some examples of typical agreements you may come across.

What is a material transfer agreement?

A material transfer agreement is a legal document that defines the rights and obligations of the parties involved in the transfer of research materials. These agreements typically cover issues such as ownership, permitted uses, confidentiality, and liability.

The primary purpose of an MTA is to ensure that the recipient of the material is granted appropriate permissions to use the material for research purposes, while also protecting the rights of the provider of the material. While MTAs are commonly used in scientific research, they can also be applied to other fields where the transfer of materials is necessary.

Material transfer agreement examples

The terms of a material transfer agreement can vary depending on the nature of the materials being transferred and the parties involved. However, there are several common elements that you may find in most MTAs. Here are some examples:

1. Permitted uses:

This section outlines the specific ways in which the recipient of the material is allowed to use it. For example, it may specify that the material can only be used for research purposes, or that it cannot be commercialized without the provider’s permission.

2. Ownership:

This section defines who owns the materials being transferred and any derivatives or modifications of those materials. It may also cover issues such as intellectual property rights and patents.

3. Confidentiality:

This section outlines the obligations of the recipient to maintain the confidentiality of the materials being transferred. This is particularly important for sensitive materials such as human biological samples or proprietary data.

4. Liability:

This section defines the liabilities of both parties in the event of any damage or harm caused by the materials being transferred. It may also cover issues such as indemnification and insurance.

5. Termination:

This section outlines the circumstances under which the MTA can be terminated, such as a breach of its terms or the completion of the research project.


Material transfer agreements are an essential tool for researchers and institutes when transferring research materials. They help establish clear rules and expectations, protect the rights of both parties, and ensure that research is conducted ethically and responsibly. While the terms of an MTA can vary depending on the materials being transferred and the parties involved, the examples outlined above provide a good starting point for understanding these agreements.