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Financial interest/student involvement:

Example 2:   Financial interest/student involvement:

Dr. Anne Marks, a professor in the Department of Biology, is a named inventor on a patent application for a synthetic resin developed in her lab.  VTIP (Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties) has licensed the intellectual property to a company, and this year Dr. Marks received $12,500 in licensing income. 

She has received federal funding for a new research study involving the patented resin, and she plans to involve a doctoral student, Mike Strand, in the project.  Although this specific project is not the central theme of the student's dissertation, the data from the research may be used as part of his dissertation or he may co-author a publication of the study results.   Dr. Marks is the chair of Mr. Strand's dissertation committee. 

Acknowledgement:  This example text was adapted from training material posted by the University of Iowa.

Actions Required:

  • Investigator Disclosure to Institution:  While licensing income from VTIP by itself does not normally require reporting through the COISystem, this case involves a student conducting research related to the faculty member’s intellectual property (sometimes referred to as “background IP”).  Thus Dr. Marks should complete a disclosure form identifying student involvement in the research.
  • Proposed Management Plan:  The management plan must address protection of the graduate student’s interests and academic progress and public disclosure of her financial interest.
    • Advisor Role:  Appointment of a new advisor without conflicts, OR appointment of an independent co-thesis advisor
    • Informed, voluntary consent of the student:  The department head or graduate program director and the relevant associate dean must meet with the student to review university and academic policies, the potential risks of the proposed involvement, and channels for redress in the case of perceived problems, using the Research Agreement for Students and Postdoctoral Associates as a discussion guide.  The student signs the agreement indicating voluntary participation. Copies of the signed form are retained in the relevant student and faculty files in the department, and sent to the designated COI Officer and Graduate School, and all members of the student’s advisory committee.
    • Monitoring the student’s academic progress:  The student’s academic progress should be assessed at least annually by all committee members and the graduate program chair in accordance with departmental procedures.
    • Public Disclosures:  Whenever Dr. Marks is an author on any manuscript related to this research study, she is required to disclose to the journal that she holds intellectual property in the area of this research, for which she has received licensing income, and that its value could be affected by the outcomes of the project.  In the case of a presentation related to this research study, she is required to disclose the interest to the organizers of the meeting.  Click here for a sample disclosure statement to a journal.
    • Oversight of key provisions of the plan:  Professor Marks reports at least annually on compliance with provisions of the management plan.  A named individual or committee provides oversight.
  • Review by Department Head and Dean:  same as Example 1 above.
  • Review and approval by the Office of the VP for Research.