Material Transfer Agreements

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract that governs the usage of material (e.g. biological, chemical) transferred from one party to another. An MTA can, for instance, also define ownership to intellectual property derived from using the material. Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital enter into an increasing number of MTAs. At Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital an MTA is typically used to give researchers free access to material from external organisations such as academic institutions or private companies. In such instances, the MTA usually describes the material, the research project it is intended for, and how the researcher can use the material. These parts of the agreement are fairly simple and rarely cause problems. The MTA usually also goes on to define who owns the intellectual property derived from using the material and specifies terms for publication. These latter parts of the MTA can often be very far-reaching and intrusive on the research. Ultimately, a poorly constructed MTA can hinder commercialisation of patentable inventions by university or researcher, because the party owning the material has secured rights to the intellectual property through the MTA. Consequently, it is recommended that all MTAs are sent for review at the TTO, before they are signed. If an MTA defines ownership of rights to intellectual property (i.e. inventions) the TTO must review the agreement, before it is signed.

Researchers at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital more and more frequently want to send their own material to external organisations such as foreign universities, and they therefore wish to obtain an MTA. The TTO has developed a standard MTA for such instances. The MTA ensures that the material in question is not used beyond its intended purpose and that there is a fair division of rights to any intellectual property derived from using the material. Therefore, it is advisable to contact the TTO to discuss whether an MTA should be used, before you send any material, which you have produced yourself, to an external partner.

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Revised 02.12.2015