Research Integrity and Compliance

Conflicts of Interest

Both federal regulations and state statutes require USU to report and manage the conflicts of interests of its employees. USU’s policy states that a conflict of interest exists whenever “a University employee owes a professional obligation to the University, which is or can be compromised by the pursuit of outside interests.” The diagram below illustrates how outside interests may impact university interests by introducing bias into the decision-making process.

conflict of interest

This definition allows for the separation of the existence of a conflict of interest from a potential negative outcome. USU does not take the view that a conflict of interest is inherently bad for the university. In fact, employees who are appropriately engaged in outreach to the community, industry and their professions will often have a conflict arise. These conflicts can take the form of: 

  • A financial conflict,
  • A conflict of commitment, or
  • A conflict of allegiance.

The key to USU’s Conflict of Interest Policy (USU Policy #307) is to avoid allowing bias caused by the secondary interest to influence the discharge of the employee's duties. This is accomplished by providing for appropriate management of conflicts of interest as they arise, using a system of conflict disclosure and management procedures that has been developed to help employees comply with policy and with government regulations. This system includes:

  • Conflict of Interest Assurance of Compliance (Form 1),
  • Conflict of Interest Policy Assurance of Compliance & Disclosure of Information (Form 2)
  • Conflict of Interest Management Plan and the associated Review, Certification and Approval. (Mgnt. Plan, Review, and Cert. App.)

In addition, the Sponsored Programs Office requests information regarding conflicts of interest on the SP-01 form for each proposal submitted, helping us stay up to date during the year.

Taken together, these forms and procedures will help the university and its employees effectively manage conflicts of interest that arise as they pursue their interests.

Support for the disclosure and management of conflicts of interest is provided by the Office of Compliance Assistance.