Materials Transfer Agreements

If you anticipate a need to transfer materials (e.g., biological specimens, chemicals, etc.) between institutions, chances are high that a Materials Transfer Agreement (MTA) will be required.

Depending on the situation, CWRU may be the provider or the recipient of the materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

An MTA is needed when materials (e.g., biological specimens, chemicals, etc.) are to be transferred between institutions or received from a commercial entity.

It is strongly recommended that you start your process as soon as you anticipate a need for the transfer of materials, as the process can take weeks or months.

Contact Johnny Sams for questions at or to get the process started.

Contact Johnny Sams as soon as you anticipate a need for receipt or transfer of materials.

Your case will be examined by experts across departments (IRB, CWRU Tech Transfer Office “TTO”, and CWRU General Counsel) and processed until all requirements are met and the agreement is authorized. In cases where materials would be received from another institution, the CWRU Tech Transfer Office’s “MTA Review Form” will need to be completed by the receiving PI. This form will need to be submitted to the CWRU Tech Transfer Office before review can begin. In cases where materials would be provided to another institution, the process is similar. However, CWRU would typically draft an MTA, as it would be the originating institution. Whether the need is to send or receive materials, contact Johnny Sams to start the process.

Each case is different. The process can take weeks or months depending on the specifics of your case. This is why it is important to get started as soon as you anticipate a need for receipt or transfer of materials.

No. Only a CWRU authorized signatory as determined by the CWRU Office of General Counsel can sign the agreement.  However, TTO may ask faculty to sign an agreement indicating that they have “Read and acknowledged the terms of the MTA”, as many of the obligations of the contract are the faculty’s responsibility.

No. The MTA Review Form is an “intake form” used by the CWRU Tech Transfer Office to collect necessary information and examine the preliminary specifics of your case and determine a course of action.

An MTA will need to be authorized before CWRU will authorize transfer of the materials to the receiving institution. You should start the process prior to your departure. Contact Johnny Sams to get started. Please note that if the materials are not owned or developed at CWRU, there will likely be some restrictions on transferring such material outside of CWRU.

An MTA may need to be authorized by designated officials from CWRU and the originating institution before CWRU can receive the materials. Contact Johnny Sams.

No, materials will need to be transported by a logistics service in accordance with OSHA regulations.

The materials belong to the originating institution. Materials received by CWRU from other entities are NOT owned by CWRU and can only be used in accordance to the terms and conditions of the MTA under which they were received. 

No. CWRU’s processes are designed to protect the institution’s best interests and reduce the likelihood of adverse consequences for the receipt, transfer, and/or use of materials. As such, CWRU’s processes require an investment of time by the parties involved in examining your case (IRB, Tech Transfer Office, General Counsel).

Attempting to circumvent the process in any form, including receipt, transfer, and/or use of materials without having consulted with CWRU could result in severe consequences, including fines, intellectual property loss, export control violations, disciplinary action, termination of relationship with the university, and legal liability.