Conflict of Interest

It is important from a legal standpoint and for some funders that any potential conflict of interest (COI) between investigators or any counterparty on a project (and each of their respective related parties) is identified and assessed before an application or award progresses. The following links and guidance notes aim to assist investigators in assessing whether a potential COI may exist:

Definition of Research

1: a Conflict of Interest arises where there is any Interest present which is a Financial Interest (note2), a Legal Interest (note3) or a Perceived or Perceivable Interest(note4) and which might reasonably be expected to influence the design, conduct or reporting or the relevant research (or other) project.

2: a Financial Interest is a situation where you or your Related Parties (note 5) have received (or, in the case of Equity Instruments, have held or still hold) in the last 12 months aggregate remuneration, payments, values, bursaries (for example, expenses paid for attending or speaking at a conference) or other funding which are equal to or exceed US $ 5,000.  An Equity Instrument means a shareholding, holding of other securities or debentures or loan monies on any terms or any option or other right to obtain the same, whether subject to performance conditions or not.

3: a Legal Interest is a situation where there is a Legal Duty which arises presently, in the last 12 months or where there are arrangements in place which will arise (whether formally under a contract or informally on the basis of an understanding) in the next 12 months.  A Legal Duty includes: fiduciary duties (which are likely to cover directors or trustees of an organisation, trust or other body); duties which arise under legal documents (this might cover powers of attorney or other legal documents which confer powers upon you, your Family Members (see note 5) or your Remoter Family Members (see note 5) such that you are able to represent a Counterparty (see note 6) in some capacity, for example, a testamentary document); or any other duty that arises by operation of law.

4: a Perceived or Perceivable Interest is an Interest in any Counterparty (note6) to the grant application or project (taken as a whole and in its normal context) which a reasonable person may, now or in the future, perceive to exist and which relates to past, present or future relationships with a Counterparty (being a person, company other business or entity (whether not-for-profit or otherwise) which is not the University and which is not a Legal Interest (note3) or a Financial Interest (note2) and which may result in any benefit (other than normal and continuing employment benefits provided by an employer) accruing to you or a Related Party (note5) of yours.

5: Related Parties – are you or your children, parents or siblings (Family Members) or your spouse, former spouse or any of such person’s Family Members (Remoter Family Members) who are Connected (see note 7) with any Counterparty (note6) with regards to the project or grant.

6: Counterparty means any funder, sponsor, collaborator, main contractor or sub-contractor or any consultant to, agent, director or shareholder of any of such parties of the grant.

7: Connected means that you, your Family Members or your Remoter Family Members are employed by, are a director (whether in an executive or non-executive capacity) or Shadow Director of, act as a consultant to, are an agent of or a shareholder in or otherwise engaged in any capacity, or have any kind of Legal Duty towards a Counterparty.  Shadow Director is a person who, whilst not a statutory director of a particular company or other entity, is a person in accordance with whose wishes or directions the relevant company or other entity is inclined to act.

8: Is there any matter which you have declared in your last Annual Staff Declaration which might constitute a Conflict of Interest?  If not, has anything changed since you made your last Annual Staff Declaration which might constitute a Conflict of Interest?