University of Vermont

Sponsored Project Administration - SPA

217 Waterman Building . 85 South Prospect Street . Burlington, Vermont 05405 . (802) 656-3360


Material Transfer Agreements

Incoming MTAs

MTAs for research materials or tools coming into UVM are reviewed for UVM by the Sponsored Project Administration office. Each “incoming” MTA must be separately considered to determine whether the restrictions and obligations imposed on UVM as the materials recipient, are consistent with:

  • the objectives of the responsible UVM member (typically the project Principal Investigator) for the current research project as well as future research plans, and whether s/he can administer the terms of the MTA in practice;
  • UVM’s existing contractual obligations (including to its research sponsors); and
  • UVM’s academic mission and policy (including timely dissemination of research results for the public benefit through prompt publication).
If you are interested in receiving a provider’s material for use in your research here at UVM or have received a MTA already for such a material, please contact or your SPA Research Administrator at your earliest convenience.

We will then send you an Incoming MTA Questionnaire and we ask that the responsible UVM researcher complete the Questionnaire as completely as possible and return it, along with a copy of the MTA, to to assist us in addressing the above considerations and in confirming that the terms of the MTA are appropriate to the researchers’ intended use of the material and research goals.

Incoming MTAs have varying terms, including the extent and nature of the encumbrances they seek to impose on UVM as the materials recipient. The process of coming to agreement in an MTA is typically simple between non-profit institutions since most institutions have similar objectives and missions. However, many for-profit entities are looking to advance their commercial objectives with their MTA, which often presents problematic terms which conflict with UVM Policy. 

For example:

  • Terms that secure rights to UVM’s research results by granting the provider licensing rights to future UVM inventions made in the performance of the research program in which the material is used
  • Terms claiming ownership through overly broad definitions of “materials,” for example, by including derivatives in the definition. With minor exceptions, UVM will not agree to terms in a provider’s MTA that result in a provider owning UVM’s research results made in a research program using a provider’s material
  • Terms that limit academic freedom through overly broad confidentially terms or terms which unreasonably limit UVM investigators’ submission of a manuscript for publication, etc.

Such terms can result in protracted negotiations between UVM and the materials provider in an effort to reach an agreement that is consistent with UVM’s policies and mission. These issues are not unique to UVM, and the Council on Governmental Relations (“COGR”) has provided a helpful discussion of some of these issues for universities and academic researchers in its publication entitled “Materials Transfer in Academia”

Finally, Faculty cannot personally sign MTAs for materials to be used in an UVM research program and do not have authority to bind UVM

Click here for an in depth discussion of the issues involved in executing MTA including UVM's process and procedures.

Office of Technology Commercialization
University of Vermont
Given Building E201
89 Beaumont Ave
Burlington, Vermont 05405

Last modified November 08 2011 05:00 PM

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