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Material Transfer Agreements

MTAs are executed when proprietary materials are transferred in or out of Northwestern. Whether for inbound or outbound materials, MTAs are critical documents that require signatures from the Provider(s) and Recipient institution(s) to ensure that each party will comply with the terms of the agreement.

Agreements governing the transfer of all material(s) from an outside organization to Northwestern are handled by the Office of Sponsored Research. The contact email address is

MTA Protocol

Outbound Materials

A request for Northwestern materials by an outside party should be sent to Investigators should also complete the Outbound Material Form and send to at the same time.

Inbound Materials

When an MTA is received by the Principal Investigator (PI) from an outside party in lieu of materials exchange or transfer, the agreement should be emailed to  Investigators must also complete the Inbound Material Form, and submit to at the same time.

For materials of human origin, please include your IRB approval or exemption letter, if any. MTAs from companies require modification more frequently than those from non-profit organizations. The negotiation process can be quite lengthy, so investigators should plan accordingly when requesting corporate materials.


Northwestern University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with WiCell Research Institute, Inc., for research use of Wisconsin Stem Cells™ developed by Dr. James A. Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Under the terms of this MOU, each Northwestern faculty member wishing to receive the Wisconsin Stem Cells™ into his/her laboratory must make a separate request to WiCell. He/she will then be asked to sign a Simple Letter Agreement acknowledging the terms of the MOU and to pay a fee to cover WiCell's handling and distribution expenses. Details about the Wisconsin Stem Cells™, including instructions for ordering, can be found at WiCell's web site (

The MOU places the following restrictions on the use of all Wisconsin Stem Cells™:

  1. You may not combine stem cells with any intact embryo, either human or non-human
  2. You may not implant the stem cells in a uterus
  3. You may not attempt to make whole embryos by any method
  4. You may not transfer the stem cells to anyone outside of your laboratory, even within Northwestern, without the written consent of WiCell.
  5. You may not use WiCell stem cells in sponsored research if the sponsor is granted any rights to the results except for rights to non-commercial research. Exceptions are made for any sponsor, including the Public Health Service, that has an agreement with WiCell.

It is extremely important that all investigators using WiCell stem cells are aware of these restrictions. It will be the responsibility of each faculty member who signs a Simple Letter Agreement to:

  1. Adhere to all the restrictions on the use of the stem cells summarized above
  2. Inform the members of his/her laboratory of the restrictions and monitor the compliance
  3. Provide WiCell with annual certification of compliance as provided in the Simple Letter Agreement
  4. Disclose the intent to use WiCell stem cells in the work scope of any research proposal submitted to OSR
  5. Obtain clearance from OSR prior to using the stem cells in research funded by any corporation, foundation, or governmental agency other than the NIH.
  6. Inform the Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) of any intent to use the stem cells connection with cre-lox technology or with any materials obtained under a Material Transfer Agreement.

MTA questions, Contact:

Anne Shriner, Senior Contract & Grant Officer
Rubloff Building 7th Floor, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611-3078
Phone: (312) 503-0884 Fax: (312) 503-2234 Email:

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