Conflict of Interest
As defined in the University of Delaware's Policies and Procedures Manual, "a potential conflict of interest occurs when there is a divergence between an individual's private interests and his or her professional obligations such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the individual's professional judgment, commitment, actions, or decisions could be influenced by considerations of personal gain, financial or otherwise. A conflict of interest depends on the situation, and should be evaluated on a case by case basis."
Involvement of faculty or professional staff with appropriate commercial enterprises is an important part of the transfer of knowledge and it is encouraged by the University to enhance both teaching and research programs. Association of faculty and professional staff with commercial enterprises should be such that it benefits all the parties involved including the University. All employees are expected to conduct their professional and personal duties with maximum integrity, and to avoid association with any activities that could diminish the effectiveness of their commitment to the University. It is the responsibility and obligation of faculty and professional staff to disclose all significant financial and commitment interests that may affect, or appear as if they could affect, their professional responsibilities.
Additional information on UD’s COI disclosure and management procedures can be found in the UD COI training module.
The conflict of interest disclosure form is now available as a UD Web routing form. Please click on the link below, and login using your UD NetID and password. Look for "Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form" under the tab "Blanks".
UD’s policy on Conflict of Interest (COI) stems from the regulations and guidelines published by Federal funding agencies. Further details on reporting requirements specific to PHS-funded research can be found in the Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) tutorial provided by NIH.
The following examples are for guidance in the identification of potential conflicts of interest under the policy. The list does not cover all possible conflicts and is intended to be illustrative only.
Activities excluded from disclosure:
- Seminars, lectures, teaching engagements, or income from service on advisory committees or review panels sponsored by a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education.
- Royalties, inventions, discoveries and patents under University Policy Number 6-6, and/or University Policy Number 6-7.
- Income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the Investigator does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles
Potential conflicts of interest that need to be disclosed:
- Any lease, sale, rent, or trade of real property to the University by the employee.
- Holding of a substantial financial interest in or participating in the profits of any organization that deals, or seeks to deal, with the University.
- Holding an appointment in or serving on the governing board of any organization that deals, or seeks to deal, with the University.
- Situations where students are directed into research areas or other activities from which the employee intends to realize personal financial gain. A conflict may arise if students are directed to areas of lesser scientific or scholarly merit to enhance the potential for monetary gain or if the financial potential exists only for the employee.
- Situations where the employee is asked to advise or serve an organization doing business in the general area of the employee's University responsibility or which is related to the field. • Situations where an employee is offered a position on a scientific or administrative board of an organization that has ties with the University.
- Situations where an employee is offered research support from an organization in which the employee serves as a director, member of an advisory board or as a consultant, or in which the employee holds a significant equity interest.
- Situations in which the employee is involved in independent business ventures as owner, operator or major investor, particularly if the entity is doing business with the University.