Conflict of Interest/Conflict of Commitment policy changes

January 28, 2020

Dear University of Oregon Faculty,

A successful research university is actively engaged with activities that take place outside of the institution. We encourage these activities, believe they can have great impact, and know they will help the university achieve its mission. Outside activities can sometimes present legal and perceptual conflicts, so it is incumbent on the institution to provide appropriate tools for disclosing and managing those conflicts. Working together, we can and must eliminate or minimize the risks those conflicts may represent for our employees and for the university.

We are reaching out to let you know that after a vote by the University Senate, the university has updated its policy on conflicts of interest, conflicts of commitment, and outside activities. This was done to improve and streamline the way UO supports how employees engage in outside and entrepreneurial activities and to comply with state laws and regulations. As a public institution, UO faculty and staff must seek approval for outside activities that may pose a potential or actual conflict of interest or conflict of commitment. Definitions for those terms can be found in the policy.

If you are engaged in or plan to engage in outside activities, please review the policy to determine if you are required to disclose this activity. You can send any disclosures—or questions if you are unsure—to coc@uoregon.edu. You can also find more information on the COI/COC web page.

Examples of outside activities that require disclosure include, but are not limited to:

  • Ownership in an entity that carries out activities closely related to your duties or research at the UO.
  • Activities closely related to your UO duties or field of expertise that involve research and development, or the creation of technological improvements, inventions, or software.
  • Managing or participating in the day-to-day operations of an entity that carries on activities closely related to your university duties and/or field of expertise.
  • Employing or supervising UO students or staff in an outside activity when you also currently teach, advise, or supervise them at the UO.
  • Engaging in activities that substantially interfere with your UO responsibilities.

Again, the goal of this policy is to help everyone understand and, when necessary, respond to potential conflicts of interest or conflicts of commitment. These are only a few examples of when disclosure or approval is required, so please double-check the policy for specific language, examples of exclusions, and other relevant information. Please note, as well, that this policy does not change the requirements under the Federal Conflict of Interest in Research policy, which applies to anyone who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of sponsored research.

Going forward, we are working on an easy-to-use disclosure tool that can serve multiple purposes. The goal is to have this up and running by AY2020-2021. However, as we implement that, the process for these required disclosures will be somewhat manual for the time being.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about the policy, the process for review and approval, or what may be exempt from disclosure, please visit the web page or send an email to coc@uoregon.edu.

Sincerely,

Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

David Conover
Vice President for Research and Innovation