A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract covering the exchange of various kinds of materials between two entities where the recipient intends to use the materials in the recipient’s own research projects.  The materials transferred under MTAs include biological materials such as reagents, cell lines, cultures and vectors but may also be chemical compounds, prototypes and equipment.  Faculty members and departmental administrators do not have the authority to enter into MTAs on behalf of the University and as such the MTA must be sent to Office of Research Services (ORS) for processing and review. This rule applies whether it is an incoming MTA (UIC is the recipient of the Material) or if it is an outgoing MTA (UIC is the provider of the Material).

Three types of MTAs are most common at academic institutions: transfer between academic or research institutions, transfer from academic institutions to industry, and transfer from industry to academic institutions.   Should you have questions about an MTA or how to process one, contact the Office of Research Services via email at or phone 312-996-2862.    

The material provider is typically not the sponsor of the research project in which you are using the materials.  If the material provider is also the sponsor of the research project, a sponsored research agreement may be the more appropriate form of agreement between the parties.  MTAs typically limit the recipient Investigator to using the transferred materials for a specific research project and for non-commercial purposes.  If the research project for which you are using the desired materials for is sponsored by a commercial sponsor, please notify ORS.