Examples for Use in Identifying Potential Conflicts of Interest and Commitment

The following list of examples serves as a set of guidelines for identifying potential conflicts of interest and commitment. It is not intended as a comprehensive list of all potential situations that could present faculty members or investigators and the University with difficulty.

Activities that are Clearly Permissible

  1. Acceptance of royalties for published works and patents, or of honoraria for commissioned papers and lectures.
  2. Service as a consultant to outside organizations provided that the time commitment does not exceed the University policy, and that the arrangement in no way alters the faculty member's commitments incurred in the University's execution of a sponsored agreement on the faculty member's behalf.
  3. Service on boards and committees of organizations, public or private, that does not distract unduly from the faculty members/Investigator's obligations to the University or that does not interfere or appear to interfere with a faculty member's ability to conduct work under sponsored agreements objectively.

Activities that Present the Potential for Conflict

  1. Relationships that might enable a faculty member/investigator to influence the University's dealings with an outside organization in ways leading to personal gain or improper advantage for the faculty member, or his or her associates, or family members. For example, a faculty member/investigator or family member could have a financial interest in an organization with which the University does business and could be in a position to influence relevant business decisions. Ordinarily, making full disclosure of such relationships and making appropriate arrangements to mitigate potential conflicts would resolve such problems.
  2. Situations in which the time or creative energy a faculty member/investigator may devote to external activities appear substantial enough so as to compromise the amount or quality of his or her participation in the instructional, scholarly, or administrative work of the University.
  3. Situations in which a faculty member/investigator directs students into a research area from which the faculty member/investigator may realize a financial gain. In such situations, the ability of a faculty member to render objective, independent judgment about the students' scholarly best interests may be diminished.

Activities that are Very Likely to Present Unacceptable Conflicts

  1. Situations in which a faculty member/investigator assumes executive responsibilities for an outside organization that might seriously divert his or her attention from University duties. Faculty member/investigator should consult with the appropriate dean before accepting any outside management position.
  2. Use of personal profit of unpublished information emanating from sponsored agreements or confidential University sources, or assisting any outside organization by giving it exclusive access to such information; or consulting with outside organizations that impose obligations upon the faculty member/investigator or the University's Intellectual Property Policy or with the University's obligations under sponsored projects.
  3. Circumstances in which a substantial body of research that could and ordinarily would be carried on within the University is conducted elsewhere to the detriment of the university and its legitimate interests.
  4. Any activity that a faculty member/investigator may wish to undertake on an individual basis that (a) involves or appears to involve the University significantly through the use of its resources, facilities, or the participation of academic colleagues, students, and staff, (b) involves the use of the University's name or implied endorsement, or (c) violates any of the principles set forth in the University Research and Projects Policy (for example, giving the outside organization the right to censor or prohibit publication rights for research any part of which is performed under University auspices).
Page Updated 12.12.2011