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Conflict of Interest & Commitment Definitions

Conducting Research includes the design, development, testing, evaluation, conduct, reporting, review, and oversight of a program of scientific inquiry.

Conflict of Commitment is a situation in which an individual accepts or incurs conflicting obligations between or among multiple employers or other entities.  A Conflict of Commitment occurs when a University Employee's Outside Activity interferes with, or could interfere with, their obligations to the University of Arizona.  Conflicts of Commitment relate to an individual's distribution of time and effort between their full-time duties as a University Employee or University research responsibilities and their responsibilities resulting from Outside Activities, University resource allocation, use of University assets, intellectual property protection and potential for conflicts of interest.

"Many organizational policies define conflicts of commitment as conflicting commitments of time and effort, including obligations to dedicate time in excess of organizational or research agency policies or commitments.  Other types of conflicting obligations, including obligations to improperly share information with, or to withhold information from, an employer or research agency,  can also threaten research security and integrity, and are an element of a broader concept of conflicts of commitment."

Conflict Official means an individual who reviews conflict disclosures and facilitates conflict management, including individuals in the Office for Responsible Outside Interests, individuals in the office of Procurement and Contracting Services, and designees of those units.

Covered Individual means all University Employees (including undergraduate and graduate student employees), Designated Campus Colleagues, External Consultants, and Research Subrecipients.

External Consultant means an individual or firm that provides professional advice or services on a sponsored project for a fee, but is not a University Employee.

Equity is any stock or other ownership interest, or an entitlement to obtain any stock or ownership interests (e.g., stock options and warrants). The value of Equity is determined through reference to public prices or other reasonable measures of fair market value (e.g., assets - liabilities = value).

Family Member means one's spouse, domestic partner and/or dependent child.

Fiduciary Position means one's legal and/or ethical obligation to act in the best interests (e.g., the financial and/or operating success) of another person or entity, regardless of whether such role is compensated. Examples of Fiduciary Positions include but are not limited to membership on a board of directors or board of advisors, or a management role in an entity (e.g., as a corporate officer, LLC member, general partner, and governing board member of a professional association).

Financial Conflict of Interest means an Outside Interest is Related to, or can be perceived to be Related to, an individual’s institutional responsibilities.

Foreign Affiliation, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 638(e)(16), means a funded or unfunded academic, professional, or institutional appointment or position with a foreign government or government-owned entity, whether full-time, part-time, or voluntary (including adjunct, visiting, or honorary). This includes appointments or positions deemed adjunct, visiting, or honorary with research institutions located in a foreign country of concern. 

Per the NIH's Grant Policy Statement and Reminder on Foreign Components, a Foreign Component is "the performance of any significant scientific element or segment of a project outside of the United States, either by the recipient or by a researcher employed by a foreign organization, whether or not grant funds are expended. Activities that would meet this definition include, but are not limited to, (1) the involvement of human subjects or animals, (2) extensive foreign travel by recipient project staff for the purpose of data collection, surveying, sampling, and similar activities, or (3) any activity of the recipient that may have an impact on U.S. foreign policy through involvement in the affairs or environment of a foreign country. Examples of other grant-related activities that may be significant are:

  • collaborations with investigators at a foreign site anticipated to result in co-authorship;

  • use of facilities or instrumentation at a foreign site; or

  • receipt of financial support or resources from a foreign entity.

Foreign travel for consultation is not considered a foreign component."

Foreign Country of Concern means China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, or any other country determined to be a country of concern by the Secretary of State

Foreign Interests are:

  • Participation in a foreign talent or similar-type program
  • All resources and other support, both domestic and foreign, for ongoing research projects, including those conducted at a different institution
  • In-kind contributions from domestic and foreign institutions or governments that support your research activities
  • Any payment, reimbursement, travel support or other compensation, of any amount, that you personally receive, or will personally receive, from a foreign entity

Institutional Conflicts of Interest exists whenever an Institutional Financial Interest influences, or may reasonably appear to influence, (a) the Conduct of Research; or (b) business or administrative decisions made by University Administrators on behalf of the University that are related to the University’s Missions, including but not limited to the Conduct of Research.

Institutional Financial Interests means:

  1. A University Administrator’s Significant Financial Interest;
  2. A University Administrator’s Significant Personal Interest;
  3. A loan of any amount between a non-publicly traded entity and a University Administrator or their family member;
  4. The University’s equity or similar interest in a publicly traded entity valued at more than $100,000 or any amount in a non-publicly traded for-profit entity;
  5. Substantial gifts, including in-kind gifts, received from an actual or potential commercial research sponsor or an individual or entity that owns or controls products being studied or tested as part of the Research;
  6. Gifts totaling $1 million or more, cumulatively, and other gifts determined by the University’s Office for Responsible Outside Interests to be substantial;
  7. Any agreement with an external entity that includes the right for the University or a University Administrator or their family member to receive payments, royalties or other income from the commercial development or sale of an investigational product that is the subject of University Research;
  8. Ownership by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), on behalf of the University, of a patent and/or other intellectual property right in or sponsorship of an investigational new drug (IND) or device (IDE) application with respect to any drug or device for which human subject Research will be conducted;
  9. Donation and sponsorship funds.

Investigator means any person who shares the responsibility of Conducting Research. This includes, but is not limited to, the Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PI, Co-Investigator, Project Director (PD), Co-PD, Senior/Key Personnel, and any other person, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for Conducting Research performed by or under the auspices of the University.

Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Program means any program, position or activity that includes compensation or in-kind compensation (e.g., title) in exchange for any of the following:

  • Unauthorized transfer of intellectual property, materials, data products or other nonpublic information
  • Recruitment of trainees or researchers to enroll in a program, position or activity
  • Establishing a lab or company, accepting a faculty appointment or undertaking employment or an appointment in violation of the terms and conditions of a Federal research award
  • Inability to terminate the contract or agreement except in extraordinary circumstances
  • Limited capacity to carry out a research and development award
  • Work that overlaps or duplicates Federally funded work
  • Must apply for and successfully receive funding from foreign government with the foreign organization as the recipient
  • Must omit acknowledgement of US home institution and/or funding agency
  • Must not disclose participation to US home institution and/or funding agencies
  • Conflict of interest or commitment

Other Support refers to:

  1. all resources made available, or expected to be made available, to an individual in support of the individual's research and development efforts, regardless of (1) whether the source is foreign or domestic; (2) whether the resource is made available through the entity applying for a research and development award or directly to the individual; or (3) whether the resource has monetary value; and
  2. includes in-kind contributions requiring a commitment of time and directly supporting the individual's research and development efforts, such as the provision of office or laboratory space, equipment, supplies, employees, or students.

This term has the same meaning as the term Other Support as applied to researchers in NSPM-33.

For researchers, Other Support includes all resources made available to a researcher in support of and/or related to all of their professional R&D efforts, including resources provided directly to the individual rather than through the research organization, and regardless of whether or not they have monetary value (e.g., even if the support received is only in-kind, such as office/laboratory space, equipment, supplies, or employees).  This includes resource and/or financial support from all foreign and domestic entities, including but not limited to, financial support for laboratory personnel, and participation of student and visiting researchers supported by other sources of funding.

Outside Employment refers to any employment relationship outside of the University requiring a time commitment.

Outside Commitments: (1) are professional and other activities that are related to a University Employee’s professional expertise, outside of their University duties and responsibilities; (2) are for the benefit of an external entity or individual and are not covered by a fully executed written agreement between the University and the external entity; and (3) require a time commitment. Outside Commitments include Outside Employment, independent contracts for consulting services, private consulting groups comprised of University Employees, volunteer/pro bono work, appointments at postsecondary educational institutions, and foreign components, as that term may be updated by the University’s Office for Responsible Outside Interests.

Outside Interest(s) means a person’s (or that person’s family members’), Significant Financial Interests (SFI), Significant Personal Interests (SPI) and Foreign Interests, as those terms are updated by the University’s Office for Responsible Outside Interests.

Related to or Relatedness: “Relatedness” is the condition in which it may reasonably appear that decisions made by the Investigator in the performance of his/her institutional responsibilities could directly and significantly affect the value of his/her Significant Financial Interests or be in conflict with Significant Personal Interests or Foreign Interests. Relatedness includes situations in which an Investigator’s Outside Interests would reasonably appear to affect, or to be affected by, the individual’s Research or other institutional responsibilities. Relatedness is not a judgment on whether the Covered Individual would deliberately make choices in the Conduct of Research or the performance of his/her Institutional Responsibilities based on considerations related to his/her Significant Financial Interest, Significant Personal Interest or Foreign Interest. Rather, “Relatedness” refers to the condition in which it may reasonably appear that choices made in the Conduct of Research or other performance of the individual’s institutional responsibilities could be directly and significantly influenced by the existence of Outside Interests.

Relative has the meaning set forth in A.R.S. 38-503 (e.g., one's spouse or domestic partner, child grandchild, grandparent, sibling and their spouse or domestic partner, half-sibling and their spouse or domestic partner, and the parent, sibling or child of a spouse or domestic partner).

Remuneration is the aggregate amount of all loans, salary and other payments for services (e.g., consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship) received from a third-party.

Research and Research Project mean any organized program of scientific inquiry that involves a systematic investigation, study, or experiment designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge that is performed at or under the auspices of the University. Research includes non-sponsored research, research fellowship and training programs, and research-related activities in undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral education.

Research Subrecipient is a party that receives a subaward or subcontract from the University under a University-sponsored project and is accountable to the University for the use of the funds provided by the subaward.

Significant Financial Interest means any one of the following interests, held by you or a Family Member. All equity and compensation from an entity will be added together to determine if you meet the $5,000 threshold.

  • Any income from Intellectual Property rights, such as patents or copyrights
  • Any equity in a private company, regardless of value or percentage
  • Equity valued at $5,000 or more in a public company (NASA Investigators only: Disclose equity in a public entity that represents more than 5% of the entity's equity, regardless of the value.)
  • Compensation of $5,000 or more.  This includes salary, consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship, and other types of remuneration for services from an outside entity.  
  • PHS and Dept of Energy Investigators only: Disclose any reimbursed or sponsored travel related to your institutional responsibilities, regardless of the amount, unless received from a Federal, state, or local government agency of the United States; a domestic Institution of Higher Education; or a domestic research institute that is affiliated with a domestic Institution of Higher Education. 
  • NASA and NSF Investigators only: Disclose all Venture and Other Capital Financing.
Significant Financial Interests of an Investigator do not include the following interests, which do not need to be disclosed under this Policy:
 
  1. Salary, royalties, or other Remuneration paid by the University to a current University employee or appointee;
  2. Payments made by the University in exchange for the transfer of intellectual property rights assigned to the University and from agreements by the University to share any royalties related to such rights;
  3. Income from investment vehicles such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the Investigator does not directly control the investment decisions made by the investment managers within these funds or accounts; and
  4. Income from seminars, lectures, teaching engagements, or service on advisory committees or review panels sponsored by (i) a government agency (federal, state, or local); or (ii) an institution of higher education as defined at 20 USC § 1001(a); or (iii) an academic teaching hospital, medical center, or research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education.

Significant Personal Interests are any managerial, professional, or Fiduciary Position you (or a Family Member) hold in any outside entity, whether or not you or your family member is compensated. This can include officer, director, and board positions.

Substantial Interest is any nonspeculative pecuniary or proprietary interest, either direct or indirect, other than a remote interest. Remote interest is defined in A.R.S. § 38-502(10).

University Administrator is any University Employee in a position of administrative leadership of a college, academic department, business, or other administrative unit, where a regular job requirement is to make institutional decisions on behalf of the University of Arizona. The role of a University Administrator includes, but is not limited to, the following positions (whether such positions are staffed on an interim, full-time, or part-time basis):

  • University Senior/Associate/Assistant Vice Presidents
  • University Provost
  • University Senior/Associate/Assistant Vice Provosts
  • University Deans
  • University Vice/Deputy/Associate/Assistant Deans
  • University Directors
  • University Department Heads/Chairs
  • University Business Officers/Managers
  • University Division Chiefs, Center Heads/Directors
  • University Employees with the authority to sign agreements on behalf of the University of Arizona or Arizona Board of Regents
  • University Employees whose duties and responsibilities include contracting or services related to Research administration, Research contracting, Research compliance, responsible conduct of Research, sponsored projects services, or technology transfer and who are in a position to influence decisions or commit University resources in the performance of the University Employee’s duties and responsibilities.
  • Individuals who serve as Chairs on the University’s Institutional Review Board committees, regardless of whether such individuals are University Employees.

University Employees means all University employees, including faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate student employees, and temporary employees.

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