Conflicts of Interests

CABNR Researcher

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The University encourages and supports interactions of its faculty, staff and students with federal, state, and local governments, and with business and industry as important opportunities for research, education, and public service.

The University also recognizes that outside activities or interests can lead to real or perceived conflicts of interests (COI). Conflicts of interests arise when financial or other personal considerations have the potential to adversely affect, or have the appearance of adversely affecting, an employee’s professional judgment or to fulfill his or her obligations to the University. Unmanaged conflicts of interest can call into question the professional objectivity and ethics of the individual, and reflect negatively on the University.

Education, research, hiring decisions, procurement and all other University activities must be free from the undue influence of outside interests. All University employees are considered public employees and must comply with the Code of Ethical Standards of the State of Nevada as codified in NRS 281 A.400 - 281 A.660.

It is important to note that conflicts of interests do not imply wrongdoing; they are practically inevitable at a research university. Activities can usually continue with proper oversight and safeguards. The most effective way to ensure transparency and oversight of conflicts of interest is through disclosure, review, and management.

Disclosure of potential conflicts of interests

Disclosure is the key to successfully managing conflicts of interests. Per University policy, all University employees are required to submit an online disclosure that either identifies actual or potential conflicts of interests, or provides an attestation that none exist.  The disclosure must be completed when hired, updated annually, and updated immediately upon discovering or acquiring a new potential conflict of interests. 

What needs to be disclosed?

Another type of potential conflict is a conflict of commitment. Before participating in a compensated outside scholarly or professional activity (COA), full-time University faculty members are required to provide notification and request approval from their supervisor. 

The disclosure of possible conflicts of interests/attestation of none and the prior notification/approval of compensated outside professional activities are accomplished online through InfoEd.

Review

Potential conflicts of interests will be reviewed by the University's COI Designated Official and possibly the COI Committee.  Requests to participate in compensated outside scholarly or professional activities will be reviewed by the faculty member's supervisor or designee. If the supervisor/designee is concerned about possible conflicts of interests, the request may be forwarded to the COI Designated Official for further review.

Management

If the COI Committee determines that an actual or perceived conflict of interests exists, the COI Designated Official will work with the faculty member on the development of a Management Plan. The Management Plan articulates the steps that will be taken to mitigate the risk of impaired objectivity.

Non-compliance with COI policy

Violation of the UAM 2,050: Conflict of Interest Policy may result in discipline as specified under NSHE Code Chaper 6 and UAM 2,370 and could result in civil and criminal penalties pursuant to NRS chapter 281 A.500-550. 

Compliance with this policy may be enforced through the exercise of administrative responsibility for oversight of funded research and management of University facilities and other University property. Such measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Freezing research funds or accounts
  • Rescinding contracts entered inviolation of this policy or Federal or state law
  • Bringing legal action to recover the amount of financial benefit received by an employee as a result of the employee's violation of this policy

For more information

For more information about conflicts of interest or conflicts of commitment, please contact the University's COI Designated Official, Michele Dondanville at (775) 784-6360 or mdondanville@unr.edu. For information about reporting suspicions of improper activity, please click here.