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Assessing Conflicts of Interest

Disclosures will be reviewed to determine if the financial interests or relationships with an outside entity are significant enough to create an opportunity for, or the perception of, potential bias.  The assessment should address the

  • potential for compromise to the objectivity of the research,
  • potential harm to a subject in the study,
  • inappropriate early or exclusive access to research results to sponsoring entities from which the faculty member might personally benefit, *
  • inappropriate use of university resources and facilities,
  • restriction of the freedom to publish or publicly disseminate research results,
  • compromise to academic freedom--particularly of students or other trainees, such as postdoctoral associates,
  • exploitation or coercion of students, trainees, or faculty who work within their department, institute, or college, or others supervised by the conflicted investigator,
  • inhibition of fair licensing of intellectual property, or
  • appearance of undue personal gain from public funds. 
     

Financial interests or relationships that could have any of these potential negative impacts would be deemed to have a direct and significant effect on the research. Such conflicts of interest may need to be eliminated, mitigated or managed.

The potential for a conflict of interest arises when certain institutional activities on the part of the employee (for example, serving as an investigator on a sponsored project, making a purchasing decision, or supervising a student) are coupled with the existence of certain external relationships. Some combinations are assumed to not represent conflicts of interest. Other combinations represent sufficient potential for conflict of interest and require review and prior approval by the University before the employee can engage in the activity. There are also activities combined with external relationships that are automatically presumed to be conflicts of interest and therefore will not be allowed.