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Information for Biological Material Agreements

If you will be receiving and/or shipping biological materials, you may need a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA).

What is a Material and Transfer Agreement (MTA)?

As defined by the Virginia Tech Office of Sponsored Programs, a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a legal contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations when the recipient intends to use the materials for his or her own research purposes. The MTA outlines the liabilities for use of the materials in addition to any intellectual property rights associated with the use and modification of the materials. Biological materials, such as reagents, cell lines, plasmids, and vectors, are the most frequently transferred materials.

Receipt of Biological Materials

If you will be the recipient of the material, you may receive an MTA from the shipper.  An MTA may be requested when receiving material from a collaborator or from a vendor (e.g. ATCC).

The MTA will need to be signed by an “Authorized Institutional Official”.   To have the MTA signed, you will need to send the MTA form to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), Contracts Department (ospcontracts@vt.edu).

·    Cyndy Williams (cwilli64@vt.edu, 540-231-3371) is the OSP MTA contact person.  You can contact Cyndy Williams for questions regarding an agreement that you have received.    

·    If you will be receiving materials that require IBC approval, approval of the MTA may be delayed if you do not have an active IBC protocol.  Please contact the IBC office (ibc@vt.edu) to confirm if IBC approval will be needed.  If necessary, you will be provided with information to submit an IBC protocol for review.

Shipment of Biological Materials with an MTA

If you are shipping biological materials that need an MTA, you will need to complete an MTA.  To request a new Material Transfer Agreement, you should contact Virginia Tech’s Office of Sponsored Programs and complete a Request for Material Transfer Agreement form.

·    Information to request a new MTA, and a link to the current MTA form, can be found on OSP’s website.

·    You can send a request for information to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), Contracts Department (ospcontracts@vt.edu).

·    Cyndy Williams (cwilli64@vt.edu, 540-231-3371) is the OSP MTA contact person.  You can contact Cyndy Williams for questions regarding a new agreement.

·    If the recipient requests confirmation that you have, or do not require, IBC approval for the generation/use of the material, you can request information pertaining to your IBC approval status by contacting the IBC Administrator (ibc@vt.edu).

Additional information that may be needed for a biological material transfer

For some biological materials you may be asked to provide additional information and/or confirmation of approval to receive and work with the material.

·    IBC Approval

o   If you will be receiving genetically modified organisms, infectious agents and/or human/non-human primate material, you may need to have IBC approval.

o   Please contact the IBC office (ibc@vt.edu) to confirm if IBC approval will be needed.  If needed, you will be provided with information to submit an IBC protocol for review.

o   Additional information regarding the IBC, materials that require IBC approval, and IBC protocol requirements, please visit our website (https://ibc.researchcompliance.vt.edu/).

·    Lab facility approval for containment of the material

o   Some collaborators and/or vendors may request verification that your lab facility has been approved for the recommended biosafety level to work with the material.  Requests for this confirmation should be directed to the EHS Biosafety Group (ehs-bsg-g@vt.edu). 

§  A Biosafety Officer will review the information, and can sign the confirmation form if your lab is approved for the recommended biosafety level. 

§  If your lab is not currently approved for the recommended biosafety level, the BSO can provide you with information to confirm if your facility meets the requirements for the indicated biosafety level.  The BSO will not sign the form until the lab has been approved for the recommended biosafety level.

§  If the material requires BSL-2 or BSL-3 containment and your lab has not yet been approved for that level, you will need to submit an IBC protocol for review and approval.  Please contact the IBC Administrator (ibc@vt.edu) for information related to the IBC protocol.   The lab space cannot be approved for BSL-2 or BSL-3 designation without IBC approval (both approvals are part of a single process).