Industrial Contracts Office
3000 El Camino Real

Building 5, Suite 300
Palo Alto, CA 94306


If the researchers you support need research materials from outside labs or are planning to receive research funding from industry, the Industrial Contracts Office (ICO) will help with the process.  ICO  negotiates a variety of research contracts with industry, including sponsored research agreements (SRAs), industry affiliates program agreements, plus lab material transfers (MTAs) with both industry and nonprofit groups.



Researcher’s Guide to Working with Industry PDF



Are MTAs necessary?

Not always. We are encouraging researchers to share laboratory materials without agreements, when possible. 


July 12, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to bring this information about our policies and procedures related to Material Transfer Agreements to your attention.

Stanford encourages the free exchange of information and materials with research colleagues, whether these colleagues are at other academic or non-profit institutions or in industry. The growing practice of using MTAs when non-human, biological material is shared for in vitro research purposes has become a barrier to these interactions. We have worked with our peer institutions to eliminate the use of MTAs whenever possible and to rely instead on the longstanding practice of publicly acknowledging colleagues for materials they have provided in papers and presentations. Accordingly, Stanford does not require or encourage the use of an MTA when you are giving non-human, biological material to be used for in vitro research purposes to your research colleagues. Restrictions to keep materials or research results confidential generally are not appropriate between academic researchers, and are usually not necessary between academic and industry researchers.

If circumstances require an MTA, the Simple Letter Agreement (SLA) or the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) should be used without changes. The SLA and UBMTA forms are available on the Industrial Contracts Office (ICO) website. In the rare instance that modifications are appropriate, the revisions must be approved by the Industrial Contracts Office.

NOTE: (1) the transfer of human biologic material and specimens and materials for use in humans is governed by separate regulations (please refer to and Human Tissue Transfers) and (2) the transfer of any materials funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is subject to special MTA requirements (Please contact the ICO for instructions).

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.


Ann M. Arvin, M.D.

Lucile Salter Packard Professor of Pediatrics and
Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Stanford University School of Medicine
G-311, 650-498-6227

Vice Provost and Dean of Research
Stanford University


A number of other universities (PDF) support this MTA policy. 

Please note that agreements are required when:

Quick Links to Which Office Will Handle Your Agreements

Collaboration ICO
Consultant to Stanford Procurement
Consulting by Faculty Faculty
Clinical Trial CT-RMG
Equipment Loan ICO, Procurement
Fellowship OSR, RMG, Development
Gift Development
Grant OSR, RMG
Human Tissue Transfer ICO
Importing/Exporting Procurement
Industrial Affiliate ICO
Intellectual Property Plans ICO
Intergovernmental Personnel OSR
Joint Personnel OSR
License into Stanford Procurement
License from Stanford OTL
Material Transfer ICO
Proposals OSR, RMG, ERA
Purchases Procurement
Shipping Procurement
Software for Research ICO
Software Purchase Procurement
Sponsored Research ICO, OSR
Subaward OSR
Subcontract OSR

PDF fold-up reference card:
Who Handles Research-Related Agreements at Stanford