Internal, open access

Material Transfer Agreement

The exchange of research materials and tools between universities and private research labs is a vital feature of the research landscape. Often these materials are protected by patent, in which case the patent owner can dictate which kind of use they allow and which they prohibit. In some cases the materials are not yet patented, so their owner looks to ensure they are used in a closed environment and not described or used publicly.

These are all quite fair concerns, and the University has those same concerns when we share our own materials with others. The discounted or free use of materials that we allow each other in the research sector is of real benefit to everyone, and agreeing to certain restrictions is a fair price to pay for that benefit.

The most common restrictions are that the receiving party doesn't use the materials for commercial purposes (including commercially funded work) and that if (patent) improvements are made to the materials that the owner has rights to use those improvements.

The University has standard Materials Transfer Agreements which cover materials going out from the University, and also coming in for our use.

The Research & Enterprise Contracts Team also review and authorise agreements provided by the suppliers of materials.

You should note that academic staff are not authorised to enter into Materials Transfer Agreements in any circumstances. You may become personally liable under any contract you sign.

The Contracts Team in Research & Enterprise are delegated to review, negotiate and accept these contracts on behalf of the University (and our academic colleagues).

When R&E sign these agreements, our academic staff become protected from direct responsibility to the other party – if anything goes wrong it will be a University matter to resolve.

Please contact your school's Contract Manager Contact Enterprise Services for further advice.

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