Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)
Sharing and receiving materials between different academic and industry laboratories is a vital component of research in the life sciences. A material transfer agreement (MTA) is a legal contract governing the exchange of tangible research materials. MTAs define the rights and obligations of the receiving and sending parties in advance of transferring material. If you require an MTA, our office requires you to complete the appropriate questionnaire:
Please note: If you have been asked to sign an MTA by another party, please contact us first! Most require an authorized signature from TIDO.
Before sharing any materials created at Boston Children’s or if you have questions about the material transfer process, please contact TIDO or email us at MTA@childrens.harvard.edu. See below for frequently asked questions about MTAs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I receive materials from a colleague at another academic institute or industry lab?
Incomplete submissions may delay the processing of your agreement.
TIDO will review the MTA and negotiate any necessary changes with the sending institution. When the MTA is completed, we will return a PDF of the fully executed MTA to you and to the provider.
A company has asked for non-human material that I have created — Can I send it to them?
Please do not send any material to a company before talking to TIDO. To begin the process, please contact your Licensing Manager. In certain situations, a license where Boston Children’s charges a company a fee for using your material may be more appropriate. Any income we receive from licensing your materials will be shared with you in accordance with the BCH IP Policy.
A researcher at another academic institute has requested non-human material from my lab–Can I send it to them
That depends on the kind of material. You can use our self-serve MTA if ALL the following conditions are met:
- The materials are being distributed to other academics at non-profit research institutions for non-commercial purposes
- The materials are not human tissue or other bodily samples
- The materials do not raise safety concerns
- The distribution of the materials is not subject to other legal or regulatory restrictions, such as export control laws or laws pertaining to special agents such as embryonic stem cells
- The transfer is not restricted by third party obligations. For example, third party obligations may exist if the materials were generated under industry sponsored research or were generated with materials obtained from a third party via a MTA.
- The materials are not being transported into or out of China. Materials going into or out of China are not eligible for the self-serve MTA.
If ALL the above conditions are met, you may download the self-serve MTA instructions and form here. Please complete the form and send it to the recipient institution for execution. You may distribute the materials after returning the fully executed UBMTA to MTA@childrens.harvard.edu. If these conditions are not met, TIDO will help with an appropriate MTA to enable the transfer. To begin the process, please download the outgoing MTA questionnaire here, fill it in completely, and send to MTA@childrens.harvard.edu.
Is sharing human samples different from sharing other materials?
Yes! Special protection must be put in place when sending samples from Boston Children’s patients. These are highly valuable and vulnerable materials. Contact TIDO before sharing any human material.
I am leaving/joining Boston Children’s — what can I do with the materials I have created so far?
First, speak with the principal investigator of the lab you are leaving/joining to confirm it is acceptable to bring the reagents to your new lab. You cannot use the self-serve MTA for this process.
If you are joining Boston Children’s, call TIDO at 617-919-3019. We will put an MTA in place with your old institution. This will allow you to freely publish your future work and protect any new inventions relating to the transferred research reagents.