Conflict of Interest

Scope of Procedure and Definition of Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest may arise when an employee participates in the business of or has a financial interest in a company that conducts business with a component institution in the area of the employee’s responsibilities. Conflicts of interest manifest themselves in two different ways in university research:

  • if the employee's significant financial interest in a sponsor or licensee causes bias in the design, conduct, or reporting of research or educational activities.
  • when an employee's activities on behalf of a company detract from the employee's teaching, research, clinical, or administrative duties. This is also known as a conflict of commitment.

For an in-depth overview of these policies, please click here.

Managing Potential Conflicts of Interest

Alaska state law provides a legal mechanism for addressing potential conflicts of interest that may arise when a University employee involved in the development or creation of intellectual property acquires equity in, or serves as a board member, officer, or key employee of, a company that sponsors the employee's research or licenses the intellectual property. In exchange for permission to be involved with a company in this way the employee and the institution must successfully manage the potential conflict of interest to reduce or eliminate the likelihood that actual conflicts will arise.

  • Disclose all potential conflicts of interest;
  • Identify factors that may cause or mitigate the likelihood of actual conflicts;
  • Implement effective management strategies to minimize development of actual conflicts;
  • Carefully review sponsorship and license terms to ensure that transactions are at arm’s length, and not at risk.

To begin managing your conflict, please contact us.

Failure to Manage Potential Conflicts of Interest

If attempts to manage potential conflicts fail and actual conflicts arise, the employee:

  • Must disclose actual conflicts in all oral presentation and publications resulting from the conflicted research;
  • Must divest significant financial interests and/or sever the relationship with the sponsor or licensee, or withdraw from conflicted institutional activity;
  • Will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action;
  • May be subject to applicable civil and criminal liability.

How UAF Manages Potential Conflicts of Interest for Entrepreneurial Faculty

Board of Regents Policy 04.10.030 requires that the University of Alaska President approve an employee’s business participation in a company. State law provides an exception from the restrictions in the ethics act if the University president “approve[s] a contract between the University of Alaska and an employee that authorizes the employee to conduct research or other development of intellectual property and to develop, operate, or own a business related to or resulting from the research conducted during the employment; a business described under this paragraph may be jointly owned by the employee and the University of Alaska.” AS 14.40.210(a)(4).

The steps to obtaining approval are as follows:

  • Work with OIPC to draft a best interest finding;
  • Work with OIPC to draft a conflict management agreement;
  • Obtain signatures from all university employees that have a risk of conflict;
  • Seek Administrator approvalSeek UA Presidential approval;
  • Provide an annual disclosure of potential conflicts and financial interests in accordance with all applicable federal law, state law, and board of Regent’s Rules and Regulations.

For the complete Board of Regents Conflict of Interest policy, please click here.

To begin managing your conflict, please contact us.

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