Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)
Types of MTA and who to contact
An MTA-in covers the transfer of "Materials" (a term used generically and which encapsulates, for example, human tissue, data, software, robots etc.) to the College from another university, a company or other external body and are dealt with by the Research Office. The process is outlined below.
An MTA-out covers the transfer of materials owned or controlled by the College to another university, company or other external body for research purposes. These are dealt with by Faculty Research Services teams.
An MTA-out where the College is approached to transfer materials to a commercial company, such supply is normally to support the company’s commercial activities. These transfers should involve a fee and are dealt with by Imperial Innovations.
MTA-in Working Process
Principal Investigators are required to send MTA requests with a completed MTA questionnaire and the relevant agreement (preferably in Word format to enable editing if necessary) to email@example.com. Where an MTA exists in hardcopy only, it should be forwarded with the completed questionnaire to the Research Office: Level 5, Sherfield Building, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ.
The MTA working process is outlined below:
- PI sends MTA request with completed questionnaire and the relevant agreement to firstname.lastname@example.org
- MTA is logged by the Research Office and assigned a reference number
- Email sent to PI acknowledging receipt of MTA request within five working days of receipt of the MTA and questionnaire
- If necessary, MTA revised by Research Office to comply with College’s preferred terms and conditions.
- Marked-up version of the MTA emailed by Research Office to materials supplier and copied to PI (or a summary of changes provided) within ten working days of receipt of the MTA request
- Upon receipt of supplier’s response, attempts made (where necessary) by Research Office to negotiate reasonable terms of access to the materials; PI copied into correspondence (or provided with summary).
- When terms and conditions agreed, final signature process for MTA completed at earliest opportunity by Research Office; details of any special conditions sent to PI.
- Reasonable attempts are made by the Research Office to contact unresponsive providers of materials, but where the provider fails to respond after three attempts negotiations will not continue. In this situation, MTA referred back to PI. This is to help ensure MTA requests are not held indefinitely, and all requests are dealt with as quickly as possible.
- Where the negotiated MTA continues to conflict with the terms and conditions of a charitable research funder, the PI will be informed that the materials provider is unwilling to change the provisions of the MTA. It is the responsibility of the PI to contact the grant liaison officer or other contact at the funder to enquire how to proceed, and/or whether the funder can confirm that it is willing to waive its funding provisions relating to IP for the particular research plan involving the requested materials. The Research Office will provide guidance.
- Upon execution of an MTA, the PI is responsible for making arrangements with the provider for transportation and delivery of the requested material. Transportation costs, where charged, should be met by the PI or their department.