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Material Transfer Agreements

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) govern the transfer of one or more materials from the owner (or authorised licensee) (‘the provider’) to a third party (‘the recipient’) who may wish to use the material for research purposes.

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) govern the transfer of one or more materials from the owner (or authorised licensee) (‘the provider’) to a third party (‘the recipient’) who may wish to use the material for research purposes.

Materials can include cultures, cell lines, plasmids, nucleotides, proteins, bacteria, transgenic animals, pharmaceuticals, other chemicals, alloys and other materials with scientific or commercial value.

Most commercial organisations, and an increasing number of academic institutions, will only release materials if there is an MTA in place between the provider and the recipient. For the provider, this agreement provides control over the distribution of the material, enables them to restrict the use of the material to non-commercial research, and reduces the legal liability of the provider for the recipient’s use of the material. In addition, the terms of the MTA can help the provider to gain access to the results of the research, both for information purposes and for commercial exploitation.

Current Procedure

Legal Services is responsible for approving and negotiating terms for both incoming and outgoing MTAs, on behalf of Northumbria University. The MTA must be signed by an authorised signatory in the Faculty in accordance with the University’s Financial Regulations.

It is important that Legal Services reviews all MTAs to make sure that Northumbria University does not agree to terms that may be in conflict with the provisions of research grants, fellowships, consultancies etc. Among the important issues to be negotiated are publication rights, Intellectual Property (IP) rights, governing law, warranties and indemnities.

For further information, please contact Deborah Wise or Katrina Hopkin in Legal Services.


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