University of Iowa

Material Transfer Agreements

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) are contracts that govern the transfer of tangible research materials and protect the rights of both the recipient and the provider of materials. The Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) reviews and negotiates incoming MTAs in which University of Iowa researchers request materials from other organizations and outgoing MTAs where the University of Iowa sends materials to an organization. 

The University of Iowa is a Signatory to the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement as of December 16, 2005.

What is the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA)?

  • The UBMTA is a master agreement which serves to simplify the administrative handling of exchanges of biological materials. 

What does it mean that the University of Iowa is a signatory to the UBMTA?

  • The University of Iowa, including the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF), and other institutions that have signed the UBMTA, can transfer materials under the terms of the UBMTA upon execution of an Implementing Letter for the particular transfer. This will streamline the process for those participating institutions and expedite the actual exchange of materials i.e., eliminates the need for lengthy reviews.
  • The UBMTA can normally be used whenever there will be an exchange of biological materials within the nonprofit research community.  Click here to find the list of signatories to the UBMTA. DSP, which handles agreements for sending materials from The University of Iowa, will use the Implementing Letter for transfers to UBMTA signatory institutions.

For more information about MTAs see:

Incoming Material Transfer Agreements

You have just read a journal article about someone’s research at another university or a company and you would like to use the materials in your research. Perhaps someone read one of your published articles and they would like to receive your materials. How is the exchange of materials handled? In the past and even sometimes now, the two researchers simply shipped the materials to each other. More likely, the exchange will be done with a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA).

How incoming MTAs are processed:

Usually incoming MTAs are sent to the researcher requesting the materials. The researcher should do the following:

  • Attach the MTA to the DSP Non-Monetary Routing Form and include sponsor contact information and any sponsor instructions.
  • Submit the completed Non-Monetary Routing Form to DSP.
  • DSP will receive your request. Please be sure to include the essential information with your incoming MTA request:
    • Whether the materials will be used on an existing research project
    • Whether you expect to share the materials with collaborators

How outgoing MTAs are processed:

  • Click here to access Wellspring Sophia in a new browser tab (Google Chrome or Firefox are recommended).
  • Click “Login with your HawkID” and DO NOT use the username and password field. 
  • Go to TASKS at the right side of the page, select Request a New Online MTA. 
  • Be sure to click the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the page. 
  • DSP will receive your request. Please be sure to include the essential information with your outgoing MTA request:
    • Applicable Institutional Review Board (IRB) Number
    • University of Iowa Grant Program Number (if material was developed under an existing sponsored project)
    • If you have submitted an invention disclosure for your materials, include the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF) Reference Number 

We encourage researchers to use external repositories to facilitate the sharing of materials. 

  1. Ximbio The University of Iowa has partnered with Ximbio, a non-profit reagent technology transfer service dedicated to life science research reagents of all kinds including antibodies, cell lines, mouse models and small molecules. When you start submit an out-going MTA request in Wellspring (see above) we will provide an automatic referral to Ximbio if the material is anything other than a plasmid. If you do not wish to work through Ximbio you may but the University of Iowa has limited resources to devote to these requests. 
  2. Addgene Addgene is a global, nonprofit repository that was created to help scientists share plasmids. When you start submit an out-going MTA request in Wellspring (see above) we will provide an automatic referral to Addgene if the material is a plasmid. If you do not wish to work through Addgene you may but the University of Iowa has limited resources to devote to these requests.  
  3. Jackson Laboratories (JAX) Jackson Laboratories is an independent, non-profit biomedical research institution providing mouse models.
  4. Mutant Mouse Resource & Research Centers (MMRRC) The MMRRC serves as NIH's premier repository of spontaneous and induced mutant mouse and cell lines. The MMRRC is supported by the National Institutes of Health.
  5. ATCC ATCC is a repository of biolgoical materials whose missions focuses on microorganisms, cell lines, and other materials.

The list of external repositories above is not exclusive; the University of Iowa supports the use of other external repositories. However, it does not require their use.  If you have questions related to transfers through another repository that is not listed here, please contact the Division of Sponsored Programs.

If you have questions, you may contact the Division of Sponsored Programs at 319-335-2123 or dsp-contracts@uiowa.edu