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Material Transfer Agreements

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a legal contract that establishes the terms and conditions for transferring tangible research materials between the owner and recipient of those materials. MTAs are most often used for biological materials, such as plasmids, reagents, and cell lines; but they may also be used for other types of materials including chemical compounds and some types of software. There are three common types of MTA: transfer between academic or research institutions, transfer from academia to industry, and transfer from industry to academia; each requires different terms and conditions.

If you need to put together a MTA, please contact the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at or at 605-658-3768. 

Confidentiality Agreements

If your research involves an invention, or if you believe one may result from your research in the future, protecting the intellectual property before disclosure is critical. A confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), or non-disclosure agreement (NDA), is a legal agreement between the university and another party that is used to facilitate discussions of confidential information. The agreement may be for confidential information going from USD to another party such as a research collaborator, industry research sponsor, or potential licensee. These agreements can also cover confidential information coming into the university or mutual exchanges of confidential information. The parties covered by the agreement agree not to disclose specific nonpublic information. Signing these agreements is the first step to maintaining privacy, protecting your intellectual property, and preserving intellectual property rights. There may also be circumstances in which you will be asked to maintain the confidentiality of information coming to USD.

If you encounter a situation involving confidential information and believe that a confidentiality agreement is necessary, please contact the TTO at or at 605-658-3768.

Collaboration and Sponsored Research Agreements

If you plan to collaborate with a colleague or industry sponsor, you might want to consider putting together a collaboration agreement. Often, the best way to ensure a productive research partnership that is free of disputes is to put all the necessary details down on paper before the collaborative research begins. By knowing who will be responsible for what in advance, many disputes can be avoided. If you think you might need a collaboration agreement or if you need help putting together a sponsored research agreement, contact the Office of Research by email at, and we can help you determine what your next steps should be.