The University Record, September 25, 1995

New conflict of interest requirements take effect Oct. 1

Beginning Oct. 1 faculty members submitting proposals for sponsored research will be prompted by the Proposal Approval Form (PAF) to answer one additional question: Do they or other key investigators on the proposed project have personal and significant financial interests in the sponsor of the research or other outside entity that might benefit directly and significantly from the research?

The question is required by new federal regulations intended to protect the objectivity and fiscal integrity of federally sponsored research. The new requirement joins the existing requirement under the State of Michigan conflict of interest statute for faculty members to disclose certain financial or management interests in a sponsor of a research project.

A Conflict of Interest Committee will review situations in which significant financial interests are disclosed. It will decide whether the financial interests create a conflict of interests and, if so, will attempt to design an oversight or other mechanism to eliminate or to manage the conflict.

A significant financial interest would exist:

  • If the principal investigator is an employee, officer or director in the proposed sponsor of the project, owns more than $10,000 in stock in the proposed sponsor or owns more than 1 percent of the equity of the proposed sponsor.

  • If the principal investigator (or other key investigator), his or her spouse and dependent children, in the aggregate, own stock worth more than $10,000 or more than 5 percent of the equity in an outside entity that might benefit directly and significantly from the research.

  • If the principal investigator (or other key investigator), his or her spouse and dependent children, in the aggregate, receive payments or other financial considerations equal to or more than $10,000 per year as an employee, consultant, officer or board member in an outside entity that might benefit directly and significantly from the research.

    A policy handbook is being distributed to faculty members and will also be available on the Office of the Vice President for Research Home Page at www.drda.umich.edu/ovpr/ovpr.menu.html. Questions may be directed to OVPR at 763-1289.