Review and Resolution

Policies Regarding Review and Resolution of Potential Conflicts

3.21.27 Review and Resolution of Conflicts of Interest Relating to Sponsored Activities 

A. Committee on Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Activities:  The Committee on Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Activities shall be a standing committee consisting of the vice president for research, the director of a college/unit research center or institute director designated by the vice president for research and three faculty members appointed by the vice president for research and approved by the Faculty Senate.  One member of the committee shall not be involved in sponsored research.

B. Committee Authority and Functions:

1. The Committee on Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Activities shall meet as necessary to review all disclosure statements and decide in each instance whether:

a. There is no potential conflict of interest; or

b. There was a conflict of interest, which has since been resolved; or

c. There is a conflict of interest that has not been resolved.

2. In making these determinations, the committee, at its discretion and under conditions of confidentiality, may seek the advice of additional persons.

3. The committee will exercise care at all times to ensure confidentiality and to protect the safety and privacy of persons involved in or affected by the review.

4. If the committee determines that there is an unresolved conflict of interest:

a. The appropriate dean, vice president or vice provost will be notified;

b. The committee will work with the affected principal investigator and other key personnel, including affected departmental personnel, to determine how the conflict should be managed so the sponsored activity can proceed if at all possible; and

c. Acceptance of an award for the affected sponsored activity will be delayed pending resolution of the conflict.

5. In order to effectively manage or remedy a conflict of interest, the committee may impose conditions or restrictions to control, reduce or eliminate the possibility that the conflict will affect the objectivity of the sponsored research or other activity.  Examples of conflict of interest management options include: 

a. Public disclosure of the conflict.

b. Divestiture of conflicting financial interests or placement in a blind trust.

c. Escrow of a conflicting equity interest until appropriate triggering conditions are met.

d. Disqualification of the conflicted individual from management, supervisory or other affected responsibilities for the sponsored activity.

e. Prohibition of the conflicted individual’s involvement in affected aspects of the research or other activity.

f. Severance of business relationships that create the conflict.

g. Monitoring of research or other affected activities by independent reviewers.

3.21.28 Appeals from Decision Concerning Conflicts of Interest Arising from Sponsored Activities 

A sponsored activity may not be accepted in the event that the committee is unable to fashion a remedy for a specific conflict of interest and the conflict remains unresolved.  In such case, the Committee on Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Activities will notify the appropriate dean, vice president or vice provost.  Appeal of the decision to not accept an award or to accept it subject to conditions in furtherance of a specific management plan, may be made to the executive vice president and provost, who will consult with the principal investigator and the Committee on Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Activities prior to making a final determination.  A final determination on appeal of a conflict of interest decision will be made within 30 days of the date the appeal was taken.  A final determination on appeal shall be achieved before the university accepts a sponsored activity.