Material Transfer Agreements​ (MTAs)

​​Many research projects require sharing of reagents and materials. Materials may include cultures, cell lines, plasmids, nucleotides, proteins, bacteria, transgenic animals, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. Often materials are shared to allow other parties to verify research results published based on very specific compounds. Material Transfer Agreements can also apply to the transfer of other scientific materials, e.g. databases, nano-materials or software.

A Material Transfer Agreement is a legal and binding contract governing the transfer terms of tangible materials used in research projects between the owning institution (called the provider, or his authorized licensee) and the recipient institution. The Material Transfer Agreement protects the rights of KAUST and either the providing or recipient KAUST researcher (e.g. publications, ownership of research results), and legally records the transfer.

 

There are two types of Material Transfer Agreements: 

  • Incoming Material Transfer Agreement govern the transfer of research materials to KAUST from other research institutions and commercial organizations.
  • Outgoing Material Transfer Agreement govern the provision of materials from KAUST researchers to other organizations.​
Only KAUST faculty members may receive materials via 'Material Transfer Agreement'. If you are not a faculty member, please consult your faculty supervisor and have him/her request the Material Transfer Agreement at mta@kaust.edu.sa. Research Services will arrange for incoming and outgoing Material Transfer Agreements to be signed on behalf of KAUST by an authorized signatory.

Research Services Responsibilities

  • All Material Transfer Agreements, either with non-profits or for-profit institutions, need to be reviewed by Research Services to ensure that the conditions of the exchange are in agreement with any provisions of research grants, fellowships, consultancies, applicable policies. Research funded by certain sponsors might not allow transfer of material obtained under their funding.

    Research Services will ensure that the Material Transfer Agreement protects the researcher in his academic freedom while acknowledging the contribution from the providing institution. The following are a number of recurring issues:

    • Confidentiality: Any agreement saying to keep the research results confidential could prevent a KAUST Principal Investigator from publishing his/her research. 
    • Delay in Publication: Some organizations often attempt to restrict the publication of research results. Providing institutions should also not be allowed to control the content of publications, other than the removal of any confidential information of the provider. Companies, in particular, often demand an extended review period for manuscripts, abstracts or copies of presentations. The purpose of such a clause is to protect inventions that are potentially patentable.  KAUST policy allows for a delay of no more than 90 days in total for review of manuscripts prior to submission, including time for filing patents.
    • Intellectual Property: Commercial providers frequently request IP ownership of research results generated by the recipient, or to ask for royalty-free licenses to such results. Suitable protection of KAUST’s rights in inventions based on the use of the material, including modifications and derivatives thereof, which are conceived by the KAUST Principal Investigator in carrying out the research with the materials, taking into account the contribution made to the invention by the material. Special attention is given to Principal Investigator being able to use the results in any further research.

Requesting Incoming Materials

  • See FAQs on incoming Material Transfer Agreement

    The KAUST recipient faculty member must understand that he or she will not be the owner of the incoming material. Ownership of that material usually remains with the provider institution. If the KAUST Principal Investigator decided to leave KAUST, he or she would need explicit written permission from the owning provider institution before the material can be transferred to a new place of work. Please contact Research Services to facilitate this if needed.

    If a KAUST faculty member wishes to obtain materials from another party (non-profit or for-profit), the recipient scientist should follow the steps outlined below:

    • Request an incoming Material Transfer Agreement request form from mta@kaust.edu.sa
    • Fill out the incoming Material Transfer Agreement request form and obtain the necessary signatures as required on the form. 

    Note: Please be aware that the incoming Material Transfer Agreement form is not the Material Transfer Agreement, but rather a checklist for Research Services to obtain pertinent information prior to negotiating the Material Transfer Agreement.

    • Once the form is filled out, submit the incoming Material Transfer Agreement form and attach a copy of the draft Material Transfer Agreement (if sent by provider institution) for Research Services' review, negotiation, and signature to mta@kaust.edu.sa
    • The Awards and Contracts Specialist will then review the incoming Material Transfer Agreement form and decide whether the provider institution's Material Transfer Agreement is acceptable as received or whether it will require some further negotiation to comply with KAUST policies and safeguard the Principal Investigators interests to carry out future research based on that material.
    • Once the Material Transfer Agreement terms have been agreed, Research Services will arrange for authorized KAUST signature of the Material Transfer Agreement and send it to the other party. Research Services will email a PDF copy of the fully signed agreement to the KAUST Principal Investigator for his or her records when it has been received from the other institution. Only then can the materials be shipped.
    • The KAUST Principal Investigator is responsible for obtaining any necessary approvals from the Institutional Biosafety and Bioethics Committee (ibec@kaust.edu.sa) and any other KAUST committees as may be in place at the time of request. Research Services does not coordinate customs clearance, packaging or shipment of materials.
    • ​Once the Material Transfer Agreement is fully signed, the Principal Investigator needs to contact and inform Procurement at procurement.permits@kaust.edu.sa or rmlogistics@kaust.edu.sa  of the details of the incoming shipment.

    For further information on the above process or to enquire about the status of a specific agreement, please contact mta@kaust.edu.sa

Requesting Outgoing Materials

  • See FAQs on outgoing Material Transfer Agreements

    If a KAUST faculty member wishes to provide materials to another party, the sending Principal Investigator should follow the steps outlined below:

    • Request an outgoing Material Transfer Agreement form from mta@kaust.edu.sa
    • Fill out the form and obtain the necessary signatures as required on the form.  The outgoing Material Transfer Agreement request form will provide the Awards and Contracts Specialist with the required information to assess the request; or he/she will follow up with the Principal Investigator, should more information be needed.

    Note: Please be aware that the outgoing Material Transfer Agreement form is not the Material Transfer Agreement, but rather a checklist for Research Services to obtain pertinent information prior to drafting the Material Transfer Agreement.

    • Upon drafting a template based on the information provided in the outgoing Material Transfer Agreement request form, Research Services  will send the draft Material Transfer Agreement by email to the recipient, with a copy to the KAUST Principal Investigator. The Awards and Contracts Specialist is responsible for negotiating the terms of the Material Transfer Agreement with the recipient institution.
    • Once all the terms of the Material Transfer Agreement have been agreed between KAUST and recipient institution(s), the recipient will then send the partially signed Material Transfer Agreement to KAUST, and Research Services will coordinate authorized signature(s) at this end. Research Services will inform the KAUST Principal Investigator when the Material Transfer Agreement is executed by emailing a PDF copy of the fully signed agreement for his/her records. Only then can the materials be shipped.
    • Many biological substances (human or animal) resulting from medical practice and/or research are considered a public health threat. Any such substances are subject to regulations governing the transport of hazardous materials under Saudi Arabian and other laws. Any radioactive material requires approval by the KAUST Institutional Biosafety and Bioethics Committee (IBEC). Any ethics approval that may be required is the Principal Investigators responsibility to obtain and the Principal Investigator may contact IBEC at ibec@kaust.edu.sa. Research Services does not coordinate customs clearance, packaging or shipment of materials.
    • ​To arrange for the materials to be shipped, the Principal Investigator needs to contact Procurement by completing the online export request form. This will automatically generate a KSN ticket number for the Principal Investigator's reference. The Export logistics team can also be contacted at export.logistics@kaust.edu.sa 

    For further information on the above process or to enquire about the status of a specific agreement, please contact mta@kaust.edu.sa

Institutional Bioethics and Biosafety Committee (IBEC)

  • KAUST IBEC Procedure

    It is the Principal Investigators responsibility to obtain IBEC approval prior to submitting applications to Research Services for internal approval if any of the following apply:

    • recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules.
    • the use of infectious agents.
    • the use of biological toxins, organisms that generate biological toxins, or recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules that can be used to express biological toxins.
    • the use of human blood, blood derivatives, body fluids, cell lines or unfixed tissues.
    • ​the use of other biohazardous agents that may pose an environment risk or risk of harm to human, animals or plants.
    • research on vertebrate animals (including marine animals).
    • research on human subject participants (i.e. obtain data through intervention or interaction with a living individual or obtain identifiable private information about human research subjects). This includes surveys, questionnaires and behavioral research.
    • Plants or seeds. 

    For further information: ibec@kaust.edu.sa or 808-4808 ​