University of Delaware

Research policy update

Research Office announces update to conflict of interest policy, procedures


11:52 a.m., Aug. 21, 2012--The University of Delaware Research Office has announced an update to its policy and procedures governing conflict of interest (COI) in research. The updated policy complies with recent changes in federal regulations applicable to institutions applying for or receiving funding from the Public Health Service (PHS). The new research policy is effective Aug. 24.

Federal regulations were implemented in 1995 that established the foundation for reporting transparency regarding private interests that could potentially interfere with the design, conduct and reporting of research. Since then, the interactions between research institutions, government and the private sector have significantly changed and become more multifaceted.

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To address the increased complexity, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has amended PHS regulations seeking, among other things, to add transparency to potential COI disclosures, enhance regulatory compliance and increase institutional and federal oversight.

Involvement of faculty and professional staff with appropriate commercial enterprises can be an enriching platform for the transfer of knowledge and is encouraged by the University. Potential conflicts of interest arise when there is a divergence between an individual’s private interests and his or her professional obligations such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the individual’s professional judgment, commitment, actions or decisions could be influenced by considerations of personal gain, financial or otherwise.

By requiring full disclosures of potential conflicts from the members of UD’s research community, the University seeks to maintain an environment of transparency that enables objectivity in research and ensures compliance.

Full disclosure of all significant financial and commitment interests that may affect, or appear as if they could affect, professional duties continues to be the responsibility and obligation of faculty and professional staff. Modifications to UD’s COI policy in compliance with the new requirements include the following:

  • A revised and updated research policy 6-11 to reflect the new definition and threshold for significant financial interests (SFIs), as well as the new requirements for disclosing, reviewing of disclosures, managing identified COIs and reporting requests.
  • A new COI Disclosure Webform format, to be posted on the UD Webform platform on Aug. 24, will be used to support more uniform collection of the required information from UD members directly involved in research activities. Disclosures must be submitted annually, no later than Feb. 15, and within 30 days of any changes in previously disclosed SFIs. 
  • It is a requirement that everyone obligated to submit a disclosure of their SFIs completes COI training. Training material (PPT download) is readily available on the UD Research website and also will be linked to the disclosure webform.

More information about the COI policy and disclosure process at UD can be obtained by contacting Maria Palazuelos or Cordell Overby at the Research Office.

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