Information

A material transfer agreement (MTA) is a legal document put in place when a physical substance or information is transferred into or out of UT Dallas. MTAs assure that the provider and recipient have a mutual understanding of how the materials can be used. The Office of Research recommends researchers put in place MTAs with the recipients of materials or items created during the course of research at UTD to protect the shared items from misuse or unauthorized redistribution. An MTA can also be useful if there are limitations on UTD’s use of the material that need to be passed onto the recipient. These agreements can be used to establish agreement with respect allowable uses, ownership of results, transfer of rights, intellectual property rights, confidentiality, and liability. The university wants to protect your research and the time, effort, and even money that have been put into it over the course of your academic career.

Visit the Office of Sponsored Projects for more information on MTAs and other types of agreements.

Visit the Office of Technology Commercialization for more information on intellectual property and licensing arrangements.

Decision Tree for Outgoing Research Materials

The following decision tree can help you determine if your shipment needs an MTA.

Step 1

Check any that apply to the items or materials you would like to transfer:






Step 2

Would you like to: (Check all that apply)







Step 3

Does your recipient meet any of the following criteria? (Check all that apply)




Decision Tree Result

You are sending Research Materials that may require a Materials Transfer Agreement. Please contact your Grant Specialist in OSP.

Why is an MTA important or necessary?

  • MTAs specify the rights, obligations and restrictions of both the providing and receiving parties with respect to issues such as:
    1. Ownership of materials and modifications or derivatives of the materials made by the recipient
      • The Provider will always retain ownership of the original material.
      • The need to balance the rights of the Provider and Recipient for modifications, derivatives, etc.
    2. Limits on the recipient’s use of the materials and related liability
      • The Provider should always include a specific permitted use (only for research purposes).
      • The MTA should always include a length of permitted time for use of the material (term).
      • The Provider should limit its liability for anything that happens during the Recipient’s use of the material.
      • The Recipient needs to ensure it is not agreeing to terms that may be in conflict with its requirements under a sponsored research agreement, a grant, a fellowship, etc.
    3. Restrictions on the Recipient’s ability to transfer materials, modifications, and derivatives to third parties
      • The Provider needs to properly trace where valuable materials have gone to avoid losing control.
      • If there are no restrictions, the Recipient could further transfer to others who may publish before the Provider has a chance to do so.
      • The Provider should limit its liability for anything that happens during the Recipient’s use of the material.
      • The Provider wants to prevent the Recipient from making commercial use of the material without the Provider’s knowledge.
    4. Rights to inventions resulting from the use of the materials
      • Both parties need to protect their respective intellectual property interests.
      • The Recipient needs to prevent the Provider from asserting undue rights of ownership of any of the Recipient’s discoveries.
      • Unauthorized use of patented material in the Recipient’s research, even if received directly from the developer of the material, could result in a patent infringement action by the developer’s university against the Recipient scientist and his/her institution.
      • The need to balance the parties’ rights so that the Provider can maintain the ability to conduct future research related to its own material.
    5. Rights to publish research obtained through the use of the materials
      • The Provider should not include terms that may restrict the Recipient’s academic freedom.
      • The MTA should clearly state that the purpose of the Provider’s review of publications is solely to:
        1. Allow Provider the opportunity to identify patentable inventions; and
        2. Ensure that the manuscript does not contain any of the Provider’s proprietary information.
      • The Recipient should agree to credit the materials as those of the Provider and acknowledge the Provider in any publications.
    6. Reporting and confidentiality obligations
      • The MTA should allow for the Provider to have access to the research results.
      • The Recipient needs to prevent the Provider from asserting undue rights of ownership of any of the Recipient’s discoveries.
      • The research reports may describe patentable inventions and contain unpublished information, so they should be subject to confidentiality restrictions.

Read more on why MTAs are important and can enhance your research goals

Decision Tree Result

You are sending Research Materials that may require a Materials Transfer Agreement. Please contact your Grant Specialist in OSP.

Why is an MTA important or necessary?

  • MTAs specify the rights, obligations and restrictions of both the providing and receiving parties with respect to issues such as:
    1. Ownership of materials and modifications or derivatives of the materials made by the recipient
      • The Provider will always retain ownership of the original material.
      • The need to balance the rights of the Provider and Recipient for modifications, derivatives, etc.
    2. Limits on the recipient’s use of the materials and related liability
      • The Provider should always include a specific permitted use (only for research purposes).
      • The MTA should always include a length of permitted time for use of the material (term).
      • The Provider should limit its liability for anything that happens during the Recipient’s use of the material.
      • The Recipient needs to ensure it is not agreeing to terms that may be in conflict with its requirements under a sponsored research agreement, a grant, a fellowship, etc.
    3. Restrictions on the Recipient’s ability to transfer materials, modifications, and derivatives to third parties
      • The Provider needs to properly trace where valuable materials have gone to avoid losing control.
      • If there are no restrictions, the Recipient could further transfer to others who may publish before the Provider has a chance to do so.
      • The Provider should limit its liability for anything that happens during the Recipient’s use of the material.
      • The Provider wants to prevent the Recipient from making commercial use of the material without the Provider’s knowledge.
    4. Rights to inventions resulting from the use of the materials
      • Both parties need to protect their respective intellectual property interests.
      • The Recipient needs to prevent the Provider from asserting undue rights of ownership of any of the Recipient’s discoveries.
      • Unauthorized use of patented material in the Recipient’s research, even if received directly from the developer of the material, could result in a patent infringement action by the developer’s university against the Recipient scientist and his/her institution.
      • The need to balance the parties’ rights so that the Provider can maintain the ability to conduct future research related to its own material.
    5. Rights to publish research obtained through the use of the materials
      • The Provider should not include terms that may restrict the Recipient’s academic freedom.
      • The MTA should clearly state that the purpose of the Provider’s review of publications is solely to:
        1. Allow Provider the opportunity to identify patentable inventions; and
        2. Ensure that the manuscript does not contain any of the Provider’s proprietary information.
      • The Recipient should agree to credit the materials as those of the Provider and acknowledge the Provider in any publications.
    6. Reporting and confidentiality obligations
      • The MTA should allow for the Provider to have access to the research results.
      • The Recipient needs to prevent the Provider from asserting undue rights of ownership of any of the Recipient’s discoveries.
      • The research reports may describe patentable inventions and contain unpublished information, so they should be subject to confidentiality restrictions.

Read more on why MTAs are important and can enhance your research goals

Decision Tree Result

You are sending Research Materials that may require a Materials Transfer Agreement. Please contact your Grant Specialist in OSP.

Why is an MTA important or necessary?

  • MTAs specify the rights, obligations and restrictions of both the providing and receiving parties with respect to issues such as:
    1. Ownership of materials and modifications or derivatives of the materials made by the recipient
      • The Provider will always retain ownership of the original material.
      • The need to balance the rights of the Provider and Recipient for modifications, derivatives, etc.
    2. Limits on the recipient’s use of the materials and related liability
      • The Provider should always include a specific permitted use (only for research purposes).
      • The MTA should always include a length of permitted time for use of the material (term).
      • The Provider should limit its liability for anything that happens during the Recipient’s use of the material.
      • The Recipient needs to ensure it is not agreeing to terms that may be in conflict with its requirements under a sponsored research agreement, a grant, a fellowship, etc.
    3. Restrictions on the Recipient’s ability to transfer materials, modifications, and derivatives to third parties
      • The Provider needs to properly trace where valuable materials have gone to avoid losing control.
      • If there are no restrictions, the Recipient could further transfer to others who may publish before the Provider has a chance to do so.
      • The Provider should limit its liability for anything that happens during the Recipient’s use of the material.
      • The Provider wants to prevent the Recipient from making commercial use of the material without the Provider’s knowledge.
    4. Rights to inventions resulting from the use of the materials
      • Both parties need to protect their respective intellectual property interests.
      • The Recipient needs to prevent the Provider from asserting undue rights of ownership of any of the Recipient’s discoveries.
      • Unauthorized use of patented material in the Recipient’s research, even if received directly from the developer of the material, could result in a patent infringement action by the developer’s university against the Recipient scientist and his/her institution.
      • The need to balance the parties’ rights so that the Provider can maintain the ability to conduct future research related to its own material.
    5. Rights to publish research obtained through the use of the materials
      • The Provider should not include terms that may restrict the Recipient’s academic freedom.
      • The MTA should clearly state that the purpose of the Provider’s review of publications is solely to:
        1. Allow Provider the opportunity to identify patentable inventions; and
        2. Ensure that the manuscript does not contain any of the Provider’s proprietary information.
      • The Recipient should agree to credit the materials as those of the Provider and acknowledge the Provider in any publications.
    6. Reporting and confidentiality obligations
      • The MTA should allow for the Provider to have access to the research results.
      • The Recipient needs to prevent the Provider from asserting undue rights of ownership of any of the Recipient’s discoveries.
      • The research reports may describe patentable inventions and contain unpublished information, so they should be subject to confidentiality restrictions.

Read more on why MTAs are important and can enhance your research goals

Decision Tree Result

You are not sending Research Materials. Please access eShipGlobal to set up your Shipping Approval Request.

Questions? Please contact your Grant Specialist or exportcontrol@utdallas.edu.