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Information to enhance your success at UNL | UNL Office of Research | Oct. 2009


Material transfer agreements recommended

Transfer of materials between labs is an essential part of scientific collaboration. When a colleague asks for a plasmid you described in your latest paper or you need a proprietary cell line from a company, you want transfer of that material to be as easy as possible. Doing a bit of paperwork up front can save you many headaches in the future.

A material transfer agreement ensures your work is properly acknowledged, your materials are not commercialized or transferred elsewhere without your consent, and you are not held liable for damages caused by use of the material.

MTAs between academic institutions are typically simple, involve no fee and will not conflict with your responsibilities as an author or significantly slow your research. In fact, you may be able to send and receive materials under prenegotiated terms already agreed upon by UNL and many other universities.

Transfer of materials to industry for noncommercial purposes is similarly straightforward. If your material may have commercial value to a company, even if it isn’t patentable, a license agreement may be more appropriate than an MTA. NUtech Ventures, formerly the Office of Technology Development, can help you evaluate this possibility.

Whenever you receive materials from someone else under an MTA, the appropriate individual should review the agreement to ensure the terms are acceptable. Some companies may require you to delay or avoid publishing or to sign over your intellectual property in exchange for their materials. UNL will make every effort to negotiate away such “dealbreakers” so you can obtain the materials you want.

Contact one of the following staff members to discuss agreements. The areas each person can help you with are in gray.






Other materials








Andy Budell
Office of Sponsored Programs







Lisa Moravec







Rose Robotham
NUtech Ventures

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