University of Minnesota
Office of the Vice President for Research

Office of the Vice President for Research : University of MinnesotaOffice of the Vice President for Research : University of Minnesota

Research agreements

New discoveries build on previous research as well as fueling further investigation. Often, the discovery process involves sharing materials and data with researchers at other institutions and a legal agreement is required. Such agreements, known as un-funded research agreements, help to promote collaboration and advance scientific discovery while ensuring the protection of the university’s intellectual property.

Un-funded research agreements

An un-funded research agreement (UFRA) refers to an agreement required to collaborate on a research project with a colleague at another institution. Un-funded projects are those that do not involve financial support, but do require a signature by an authorized U of M official. These include:

  • Capital equipment loans (bailment)
  • Confidentiality agreements (CDA, or nondisclosure-NDA, proprietary information-PIA, secrecy, etc.)
  • GOALI or SBIR/STTR intellectual property agreements
  • Material Transfer Agreements (MTA) *
  • Memoranda of Understanding (MOU)
  • Research collaboration agreements (RCA)
  • Software or data use and license agreements (DUA)
  • Special terms and conditions for special research materials purchase orders
  • Teaming agreements

*MTAs are the most common type of UFRA

Business and industry research agreements

The U of M has developed a set of tools to assist in the deployment of research agreements with business and industry, including master agreements, template agreements and national agreements.

What do I need to do?

Click on the titles below to open/close information panels.

RECEIVE incoming research material

The Sponsored Projects Association (SPA) is responsible for incoming material transfers.

To complete an incoming MTA, license, data use agreement (DUA) or some other long term agreement with intellectual property implications, create a Material Transfer Agreement Routing Form (MTARF) or contact SPA at

SEND outgoing research material

The Office of Technology Commercialization is responsible for outgoing material transfers and confidentiality agreements for outgoing intellectual property.

To initiate a request to send outgoing materials, visit Material Transfer Agreements and complete the MTA request form or contact

Acquire approval from an"authorized signer" online requests

UFRAs are virtually always with the University, not an individual researcher. Only persons who have an explicit delegation of authority from the Regents may sign such agreements. For online forms or data requests, the approving official still must be in SPA.

Fill out an MTARF and e-mail the link to If the government website asks for the name of an "authorized official" you may enter Judith Krzyzek,, or Kevin McKoskey,

Those officials will then forward the links to the UFRA office for review. After that process is complete, so that all compliance and legal issues are understood and we are able to meet the special requirements (such as data security), SPA will give the package to the authorized official to approve the request online.

Receive a signature on a confidentiality agreement

If the agreement is a confidentiality form (CDA, NDA) to hold a preliminary discussion or read a clinical protocol, or a certification or registration form, such as those required for the NIH AIDS Reagent program, you may simply email the agreement to SPA at SPA will negotiate any changes to terms and execute the agreement.

Receive a signature on another kind of agreement or paperwork

If you are not sure what kind of agreement you have, but you know it needs a signature, contact SPA UFRA coordinators at

Check on the status of a request in the system

Go to, log in, and enter your name or MTARF number to see who is working on it and the current status.

View detailed instructions on SPA's website.

Who can I contact for help?

Sponsored Projects Administration is responsible for all incoming agreements. Contact SPA at

The Office for Technology Commercialization manages all outgoing agreements. Contact OTC at