Utah Tech University will exercise care in proposing and accepting sponsored agreements in which project directors or family members have financial Interests or management interests that can be seen as conflicts. Agreements cannot be accepted when:
- It can be expected with reasonable certainty to compromise the integrity or objectivity or undermine the employees’ obligations to UT, students or the sponsor, AND
- The conflict cannot be satisfactorily managed with appropriate oversight.
UT policy 4.11 adopted in 1996 requires disclosure of any potential conflict of interest to an immediate supervisor. The policy overlaps with several state and federal regulations including The UT policy the Utah Public Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act (Utah Code Annotated § 67-16-1 et seq. (the Ethics Act), Section 112 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, the National Science Foundation Policy on Conflict of Interest reporting and the PHS Policy on Objectivity in Research (42 CFR 50 Subpart F). Those regulatory matters are included below. The Uniform Guidance requires the institution to report any potential conflict of interest to the funding agency.
UT Conflict of Interest Policy
Utah Tech University Policy R.411.7.1 and R.3.17: “Personal Conduct/Conflict of Interest”
In order that potential conflicts of interest can be evaluated, employees are expected to make full disclosure to their supervisor, in writing, of any involvement in situations where conflict of interest might exist.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
§200.112 Conflict of interest.
The Federal awarding agency must establish conflict of interest policies for Federal awards. The non-Federal entity must disclose in writing any potential conflict of interest to the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity in accordance with applicable Federal awarding agency policy.
Public Health Service
67-16-9. Conflict of interests prohibited.
No public officer or public employee shall have personal investments in any business entity which will create a substantial conflict between his private interests and his public duties.
Council on Governmental Relations: Managing Externally Funded Projects Guide to Effective Management Practices (Conflict of Interest)
National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation Conflict of Interest Policy
NSF requires each grantee institution8 employing more than fifty persons to maintain an appropriate written and enforced policy on conflict of interest. Guidance for such policies has been issued by university associations and scientific societies.
An institutional conflict of interest policy should require that each investigator disclose to a responsible representative of the institution all significant financial interests of the investigator (including those of the investigator’s spouse and dependent children) (i) that would reasonably appear to be affected by the research or educational activities funded or proposed for funding by NSF; or (ii) in entities whose financial interests would reasonably appear to be affected by such activities.
The term “significant financial interest” means anything of monetary value, including, but not limited to, salary or other payments for services (e.g., consulting fees or honoraria); equity interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interests); and intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, copyrights and royalties from such rights).
An institutional policy must ensure that investigators have provided all required financial disclosures at the time the proposal is submitted to NSF. It must also require that those financial disclosures are updated during the period of the award, either on an annual basis, or as new reportable significant financial interests are obtained. An institutional policy must designate one or more persons to review financial disclosures, determine whether a conflict of interest exists, and determine what conditions or restrictions, if any, should be imposed by the institution to manage, reduce or eliminate such conflict of interest.
Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS) Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) regulations take effect:
Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which PHS Funding is Sought (42 CFR Part 50, Subpart F) and Responsible Prospective Contractors (45 CFR Part 94).
In 2011, DHHS revised financial conflict of interest regulations which had been in effect since 1995. The new Rule, effective August 24, 2012, lowers the threshold of what is considered a “significant financial interest” – e.g., from $10,000 to $5000 in annual compensation from an outside entity. There is now a travel disclosure requirement. The institution is charged with making the determination of FCOI (rather than the investigator). Training for each PHS-funded investigator is mandatory. The Rule enhances requirements for the University to report financial conflicts of interest of PHS-funded investigators (e.g., providing additional detail to the DHHS; and responding to any meaningful inquiry within five days).