Conflict of Interest
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 interest (COI). Conflicts of interest 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. 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.
It is important to note that conflicts of interest 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 is the key to successfully managing conflicts of interest. Per University policy, all University employees are required to submit an online disclosure that either identifies actual or potential conflicts of interest, or provides an attestation that none exist. The disclosure must be completed annually and updated within 30 days of discovering or acquiring a new potential conflict of interest. The University's conflict of interest policy (UAM 2,050) details the types of interests that must be disclosed and those that do not need to be disclosed.
Another type of potential conflict is a conflict of commitment. Before participating in a compensated outside professional activity (COA), full-time University faculty are required to provide notification and request approval from their supervisor. The University's policy on faculty providing consulting services (UAM 2,690) provides more information.
The disclosure of possible conflicts of interest/attestation of none and the prior notification/approval of compensated outside professional activities are accomplished online through InfoEd.
Potential conflicts of interest will be reviewed by the University's COI Designated Official and possibly the COI Committee. Requests to participate in compensated outside professional activities will be reviewed by the faculty member's supervisor or designee. If the supervisor/designee is concerned about possible conflicts of interest, the request may be forwarded to the COI Designated Official for further review.
If the COI Committee determines that an actual or perceived conflict of interest 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.