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Technology Transfer: Requesting Materials

Outline of the material request process at Addgene, as explained in the text.

An order for materials must have a completed Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) so that the technology can be transferred from one institution to another. The MTA offers protection of the intellectual property rights and liability of providing institutions, and ensures that recipient scientists have access to those materials. An order also requires that the recipient scientist sign a Recipient Scientist Acknowledgement (RSA), which acknowledges that the requestor understands the terms of the MTA that are set by the providing institution.

For most of our materials, Addgene uses the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA). This agreement is widely accepted both in the US and internationally. Industry organizations use the Industry MTA.

General Request Process

The RSA and the MTA must be completed before we can prepare an order. The request process has five key steps.

  1. The recipient scientist places an order online at
  2. The recipient scientist completes the RSA and questionnaire, if one is required.
    • The RSA is a quick online form on the Order Status page to confirm that the scientist understands the terms of the MTA. After placing an order with Addgene, we'll send an email confirmation to the researcher, including the order number, a link to the Order Status page, instructions to complete the RSA, and instructions to complete the questionnaire if one is required.
  3. Addgene sends the MTA to the tech transfer office (TTO) or recipient scientist.
    • In most cases, we will send this to the MTA contact for the recipient institution. If we don't have an MTA contact on file for the institution, we will send the MTA directly to the recipient scientist, who can pass it on to the authorized representative to sign and return to Addgene. See more information on this process below.
  4. The authorized signatory at the recipient institution approves the MTA.
  5. Addgene ships materials to the recipient scientist.

This video will walk you through the entire process to help you get your materials as soon as possible, so you can get to doing science!

Some organizations require an internal institutional form before they can approve an MTA. A recipient scientist can confirm this with their tech transfer office or with the institution's MTA contact.


Some institutions may require additional information from researchers before approving a deposit agreement or MTA. Addgene can host questionnaires to save time for both scientists and institutions. Questionnaires can be a form with customized questions for researchers to fill out or a link to information and/or forms on the organization’s internal site. Examples of questionnaires and instructions on how to provide questionnaires for Addgene to host are available to download.

Questionnaire Guide 899.7 KB

Email us at [email protected] about questionnaires.

The requesting scientist can check the Order Status page to find contact information for the MTA contact at their institution in case they have any questions. Otherwise, they will receive a confirmation email when the process is complete.


Requests for antibodies do not require an MTA; only the Recipient Scientist Acknowledgement is necessary, which must be completed before checking out on the website.

Completing the MTA

There are multiple options for approving an MTA, some of which are more efficient for scientists and tech transfer offices alike.

Master Reception Agreement

Average approval time is one business day.

A Master Reception Agreement lets an institution agree to terms once for all future requests. To use a Master Reception Agreement, the institution must have an authorized, centralized office where we can send deposit notifications. This office can be a Technology Transfer Office, Office of Sponsored Programs, Office of Technology Development, Legal Office, or similar.

With this option, after the researcher has completed the RSA, Addgene will verify that the researcher’s PI is truly affiliated with the requesting institution. If we cannot verify the PI’s affiliation, we will contact the PI and/or the requesting scientist directly.

As soon as this verification is completed, the MTA will either be automatically approved, or a notification will be sent to the authorized office if manual review is required. MTAs require review if any material in the order requires terms that the organization has not chosen to auto-approve.

Master Reception Agreement Sample 295.8 KB

Email us at [email protected] to set up a Master Reception Agreement.

Electronic Approval (eMTA)

Average approval time is two business days.

Addgene sends all MTAs directly to the office authorized to approve them by the institution. The authorized office approves each MTA electronically through the link included in an email from Addgene. Upon confirmation of the electronic signature, the requested materials will be prepared for shipment.

PDF Method

Average approval time is four business days.

If an institution hasn't set up another method, Addgene will send the MTA to the recipient scientist. The recipient scientist must then forward it to the authorized signatory or authorized office for approval. Read more about who can sign MTAs. Submitting an MTA with an unauthorized signature will delay the order by at least 1 business day. The signed MTA can be submitted to Addgene by uploading the PDF file to the Order Status page, sending the PDF file via email, or sending the packet via fax. Addgene will review and approve the MTA once we receive it, and then we'll prepare the requested materials for shipment.

Contact Us

We are always happy to help answer your questions.

Visit Addgene's Help Center for additional information or email us at:

  • [email protected] for questions about MTAs and requesting materials
  • [email protected] for questions about Deposit and Distribution Agreements, Master Agreements, or Tech Transfer Accounts