The University of Texas at Dallas (“UTD”) is committed to ensuring conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment do not interfere with the openness and productivity of our academic and research environments. UTD takes the position that faculty, researchers, and employees can participate in situations involving the appearance for conflict in conjunction with disclosure, management, and monitoring by UTD administration.
UTD faculty, researchers, and employees are responsible for disclosing to UTD any activities, relationships, and financial interests that may create an apparent or actual conflict of interest or conflict of commitment. Faculty and researchers are also responsible for reporting to their department and school any scholarly and governmental service activities, as well as activities that use UTD resources or occur during normal operating hours. Please check with your department and/or school for specific reporting practices.
- Submit a Conflict of Interest Disclosure when your institutional responsibilities may appear to be biased or unduly influenced by conflict of interest. Responsibilities that may be affected by a conflict of interest include research, purchasing and contract management, student mentoring, facilities use, and management of confidential information and intellectual property. The Office of Research Integrity and Outreach (ORIO) will assist you in implementing a management plan to reduce or remove the appearance for conflict.
Example: The director of research center wants to be able to purchase lab supplies from his family’s company. He understands that he cannot requisition for goods or services from his family’s company, and so he discloses the situation to his supervisor.
Example: An assistant professor performs a research project funded by a startup company in which he holds a small equity stake.
- Disclose all outside activities that may create a conflict of commitment by interfering with your time and effort to UTD, and/or involving the use of UTD resources or intellectual property. Responsibilities that may be affected by conflict of commitment include your effort committed to UTD, your service as a mentor or supervisor of students, trainees, or visiting scholars, and your obligations to manage confidential information, research data, and intellectual property generated and/or used at UTD. ORIO will assist you in implementing a management plan to reduce or remove the appearance for conflict.
Example: An employee is inquiring if he can allow his startup company to use the equipment in his lab for company projects.
Example: A company wants to hire a researcher as a consultant for a federally funded project at the company. The researcher discloses the opportunity to ORIO to identify any overlapping projects at UTD, and any related university intellectual property.
- Report all scholarly and governmental service activities to which you commit effort, whether domestic or international, in your annual performance review with your department or school. These activities are considered an extension of your job at UTD and do not generally create a conflict of interest, even if you are compensated. Examples include participation in committees, conferences, review panels, scholarly societies, etc. Conflict of commitment concerns created by these activities should be mediated with your department head and dean.
Example: An associate professor is invited to serve on an NIH review panel, which will require some travel and participation in conference calls.
Example: A professor is invited to serve as the paid executive director for a professional society. Because his involvement with the organization will result in a significant amount of time spent away from the office, he requests approval for the activity from his department head.
- Request approval for academic appointments, including lecture and seminar engagements, through an Activity and Interest Report. Such requests must include all positions or affiliations with domestic and international institutions of higher education or the government or quasi-governmental organizations that involve compensation, commitment of effort, or the promise of financial resources or direct support.
Example: A research scientist applies for NSF funding for a project that includes consultants at a university in China. The university has offered to host the scientist for several weeks during the summer to facilitate collaboration. The scientist clearly identifies the Chinese university as a component in the funding application and requests approval for the appointment from his department.
- Request approval for your consulting and professional service activities through an Activity and Interest Report. These activities should offer opportunity for professional development and benefit to UTD. Such activities include providing advice, expertise or analysis related to your area of expertise or professional practice. Consulting activities do not involve becoming an employee of another organization.
Example: A company wants to hire a researcher as a consultant and provide gift funding to support students and research in her lab. The researcher discloses the proposed arrangement to ORIO to determine if the gift-funded research could be affected, or appear to be affected, by the conflict of interest.
- Request approval for outside board service, whether advisory or fiduciary, through an Activity and Interest Report. Uncompensated board service performed at the request of UTD may be performed during normal operating hours. Compensated board service must be performed outside of operating hours, or on leave.
Example: An associate dean is invited to serve on the board of another university based on his position at UTD. He will be reimbursed for travel expenses to attend quarterly meetings and receive a small stipend for his participation.
- Disclose your financial interests that are likely to create the appearance of conflict of interest for your UTD responsibilities through an Activity and Interest Report. Reportable financial interests include equity and ownership interests, royalties, gifts, travel reimbursements, and other payments received from outside organizations. ORIO will assist you in implementing a management plan to reduce or remove the appearance for conflict with your UTD responsibilities.
Example: A department chair owns several rental properties and wants to lease apartments to student from his department.
- Report your research activities and relationships outside of the US in funding proposals and progress reports to federal funding agencies. You must provide complete and accurate information regarding your research activities, support, and other relationships when proposing or conducting federally funded research.
- Request approval from the cognizant department head or dean to assign a relative employed by UTD to your funded research project. Supervision must be provided by an unrelated faculty member or the department head, and the department head will be responsible for written reviews and future actions regarding the assignment.
Example: A principal investigator is considering including her spouse as a co-investigator on a proposal for NSF research funding.
Please contact the Conflict of Interest and Commitment office
(firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.