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  1. What is a Material Transfer Agreement?
  2. Outgoing material
  3. Incoming material


What is a Material Transfer Agreement?

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) governs the transfer of biological, chemical, archeological and other materials from one organization to another. Usually the materials in question are proprietary and are not otherwise available, and they are provided for a specific research purpose under the restrictions that are outlined in the MTA. These agreements cover transfers of material from other institutions or corporations to SFU, as well as transfers from SFU to other institutions and corporations. Like all agreements involving SFU, MTAs undergo unique internal approval procedures before they can be finalized.

SFU is a signatory to the AUTM Uniform Biological MTA Master Agreement and in appropriate cases will deal with other signatories through an Implementing Letter.

DownloadMaterial Transfer Agreement Application Form


Outgoing material

For outgoing material, an SFU researcher should submit a Material Transfer Agreement Application Form to Research Services ( Thereafter, the SFU researcher either:

  1. Obtains a standard MTA from Research Services and sends it to their colleague at the receiving institution, or
  2. Requests that MTA be prepared and sent by Research Services in consultation with the SFU researcher.

When the MTA has been signed by SFU and the receiving institution, the SFU researcher will be advised that the transfer of material can proceed.

Note: In situations where identical outgoing material is routinely sent under the standard MTA, Research Services is usually involved only when an agreement is to be signed or when the receiving institution requests changes to the standard MTA.


Incoming material

For incoming material, the institution providing the material to SFU will usually forward a copy of its own standard MTA to the SFU researcher who is to receive the material. When an SFU researcher receives such an agreement, they should review its terms to confirm that the terms of use for the material are acceptable. A copy of the agreement should be forwarded, together with a completed Material Transfer Agreement Application Form, to Research Services ( Research Services will review the agreement and contact the providing institution if any changes or clarifications are required. When the terms of the agreement are acceptable to the SFU researcher and Research Services, the agreement can then be signed for SFU by the Director of Research Services. Usually the SFU researcher is also required to sign as receiving scientist. After the agreement has been signed by SFU and the providing institution, the materials are sent by the providing institution directly to the SFU researcher.

Last updated: November 22, 2022