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Material Transfer Agreements at McMaster: How to send and receive materials (and protect your interests at the same time)

Whenever you want to send materials to a researcher outside the University or obtain materials from an external researcher, you will need a contract called a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). An MTA covers the transfer of both biological materials (e.g. cell lines, plasmids, proteins, bacteria, transgenic animals, pharmaceuticals, etc.) and non-biological materials (e.g. radioactive trace materials). These agreements are important as they protect the interests of both parties while allowing the exchange of materials.  They govern such issues as:

  • ownership of the materials
  • limits on the use of the materials
  • confidentiality of information
  • publication
  • rights to inventions and research results
  • warranty disclaimers and indemnification

MILO will assist researchers in drafting, reviewing and negotiating MTAs. It is important to note that individual faculty members do not have signing authority for MTAs.

What should I do if I want to send materials to another researcher?

Please complete our MTA (outgoing) request form to enable MILO to prepare an MTA which is appropriate for your circumstances.

What should I do if I want to get materials from another lab?

Generally, when you want to get materials from another lab, you’ll be asked to sign the institution’s or company’s MTA. In some cases, you won’t be provided with any agreement. In either case, it’s important to have an MTA in place which is appropriate for your purposes and protects your interests. Please complete our MTA (incoming) request form to enable us to review or draft an agreement which is suitable for your circumstances.

I still have lots of questions. What should I do?

For more information about MTAs, please visit our MTA FAQs:

or contact MILO to discuss your options further.