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Conflicts of Interest and Commitment - 1Q9

The mission of SIUE must be conducted in an objective manner, free from undue influence arising from private or other special interests. The purpose of this policy is to establish requirements for recognizing, disclosing, and managing actual and potential conflicts of interest (COI) and conflicts of commitment (COC). This Policy applies to all employees of the University, whether they are employed on a full-time or part-time basis.

The University and its employees often benefit from the employee's participation in both public and private outside interests and activities. Employees must ensure that their outside obligations, financial interests, and activities do not conflict or interfere with their commitment to the integrity of the University and the public interest.

This policy applies to all activities that overlap with SIUE responsibilities and/or could impact the discharge of SIUE duties (including but not limited to sponsored projects, employment outside of SIUE and volunteer activities).

This Policy covers the following additional COI and COC requirements:

  • the University Faculty Research and Consulting Act (110 ILCS 100/et. seq.), in which full-time faculty members are required to obtain prior written approval before engaging in certain types of non-University income producing activities
  • all state and federal laws, regulations, and rules, including but not limited to the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (5 ILCS 430/et. seq.) and the Illinois Procurement Code (30 ILCS 500/et. seq.)
  • the Illinois Procurement Code (30 ILCS 500/et. seq.) when procuring goods and services 
  • externally-funded project sponsors, including but not limited to the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) (which oversees agencies such as the National Institutes of Health), that require disclosing, and managing actual and potential significant financial conflicts of interest in relation to a sponsored project.
  1. Conflicts of Interest

    1. A conflict of interest encompasses any situation in which an employee of the University uses or is in a position to use their influence or authority within the University to advance their own personal or financial interest or the personal or financial interests of their immediate family or an associated entity.
      • An "associated entity" of any employee means any trust, organization or enterprise other than the University over which the employee, alone or together with his or her immediate family, exercises a controlling interest.
      • "Organization or enterprise" includes but is not limited to any corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, franchise, association, holding company, joint stock company, receivership, business or real estate trust, or any other legal entity organized for profit or charitable purposes.
      • The "immediate family" of an employee includes their spouse, civil union or domestic partner, and other persons who are related to the employee biologically or by law.
    2. Unacceptable conflicts of interest include but are not limited to:
      • diverting to outside entities grant/contract support the University might otherwise expect
      • using University and other public resources, including assigned time and facilities, for private gain without proper compensation to or consent from the University
      • impeding the dissemination of research information or creative activities
      • using a position of influence or authority to involve other employees or students of the University in non-University activities without the consent and supervision of the University
      • using privileged information acquired in connection with the employee's activities for personal gain or unauthorized use
      • negotiating or influencing the negotiation of grants and contracts with organizations with which the employee has consulting or other significant relationships
      • accepting gratuities or special favors from private organizations with which the University does or may conduct business
      • extending gratuities or special favors to employees of an organization under circumstances which might reasonably be interpreted as an attempt to influence the recipients in the conduct of their duties.
    3. See Section VI Procedures for the disclosure process.
  2. Specific COI
    1. Procurement
      1. Section 40-35 of the Illinois Procurement Code lays the foundation of the policy for procurement-related COI as well as financial disclosures.
      2. See Section VII Procedures for the disclosure process.
    2. Nepotism
      1. Nepotism is the practice of favoring relatives. It is a specific form of COI.
      2. In compliance with the SIU Board of Trustees Policy 2C, no employee of the University shall make a final personnel determination on any matter related to employment concerning another University employee who is their spouse, civil union or domestic partner or is related within the third degree of consanguinity. Such relatives include, but are not limited to, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, offspring including adoptees, and any relative by marriage comparable to these relationships.
      3. In situations where individuals who are related are in a supervisory/subordinate relationship, the supervisor shall disclose this relationship to the University, and a management plan shall immediately be instituted to provide for alternative supervision and evaluation of the subordinate employee. The management plan must be approved by the applicable Dean or Director, the Director of Human Resources (or designee) and appropriate Vice Chancellor (or designee). Copies of the approved plan shall be placed in the personnel file of the subordinate employee in the Office of Human Resources as well as in the respective Vice Chancellor area.
      4. There may be other instances when a nepotism plan may be necessary based on the employment relationship between individuals who are related.
      5. See Section VII Procedures for the disclosure and management plan process.
      6. See Policy 2C5 regarding requirements in consensual amorous or sexual relationships between supervisors and a directly reporting employee.
    3. Hiring and Performance Reviews
      1. Members of search committees, hiring managers, recruitment participants, Equity Advisors, search consultants, search/promotion committee support, employees/faculty serving on midpoint review, tenure review, promotion review, and retention review shall disclose any significant personal, professional, academic, familial or financial relationship with a candidate to the chair of the committee or chair of the department and recuse themselves from participation on the committee or in the selection/review process.
      2. Examples of situations that might create either a real or perceived COI include but are not limited to the review of candidates who:
        1. are current or former students/student workers, postdoctoral fellows, mentees, co-authors, close collaborators, or partners in a business or professional practice
        2. for which you have served as a professional or personal reference.
      3. A COI may also occur when there is undue influence or pressure.
      4. See Section VI Procedures for the disclosure process.
  3. Conflicts of Commitment
    1. A conflict of commitment encompasses any situation in which outside activities or interests undertaken by the individual are sufficiently demanding of the individual's time and attention as to interfere, or appear to interfere, with his or her obligations to the University. A conflict of commitment may also occur if the individual is concurrently conducting activities sponsored by a federal, state, or local public agency or a private corporation.
    2. COC may arise between the individual and the University as a result of consulting, agreements, grants and contracts with outside agencies, and individual or family involvement in private financial interests or commercial enterprises.
    3. There are two principles that broadly govern COC:
      1. As an employee of the University, the individual's commitment and obligation to the University must have priority over the commitments to outside interests.
      2. University resources may not be used either for personal gain, private gain, or in support of outside agencies, without proper approval of the University.
    4. Unacceptable COC include but are not limited to the following:
      1. Commitment of Time: Ordinarily, University employees are given the opportunity to pursue outside interests that are consistent with the mission of the University. However, if the time commitment to these activities becomes excessive, the mission of the University may suffer.
      2. Commitment of Resources: Individuals who are engaged in non-University activities may not use University resources without prior approval of the University. Such resources include the use of University facilities (such as labs, classrooms, and meeting spaces) and University assets (such as instrumentation, software, and computers). Facilities and other assets may be used in outside activities with the University's prior permission if the external or private entity agrees to provide suitable compensation to the University.
      3. Commitment of Students: In general, individuals may not involve students in outside activities unless it can be demonstrated that participation in these activities affords a substantial educational benefit for the student. Cases involving use of students must be carefully monitored by the academic unit and not by the individual.
      4. Intellectual Properties: No University employee may cede or transfer rights to the University's intellectual property (including but not limited to patents, licenses, and copyrights of scholarly works) to any third party. Patents or other proprietary rights must be shared by the University in accordance with arrangements set forth contractually and pursuant to the University's Intellectual Property Policy.
      5. Use of the University's Name: The individual as well as outside entities may not use the University's name without prior University approval.
    5. COC may also arise if the employee is simultaneously engaged in publicly and privately sponsored activities. In this case, it is the responsibility of the University to ensure that public funds designated for the activity are not channeled to private individuals or organizations and that results from publicly financed activities are appropriately disseminated. Examples of these types of conflict may include, but are not limited to, the following:
      1. unnecessarily delaying or withholding from publication results of publicly supported activities, while making the results available exclusively to a private organization;
      2. using public funds to conduct activities for private individuals or organizations;
      3. redirecting a sponsored project to serve the research or other needs of a private organization without prior approval and to the sponsoring agency;
      4. purchasing major equipment, instruments, materials, or other items for the University from a family member or a private organization in which the investigator serves without prior approval of such interest:
      5. consulting or holding grants or contracts with two or more entities without informing the other parties of concurrent commitments;
      6. transmission of government-sponsored work products, results, materials, records, or information that are not generally available to a private individual or organization for personal gain (This requirement would not necessarily preclude appropriate licensing arrangements for inventions or consulting on the basis of government-sponsored research results where there is significant additional work by the employee independent of the government-sponsored research.);
      7. using for personal gain or other unauthorized use of confidential information acquired in connection with the employee's government-sponsored activities (The term "confidential information" includes but is not limited to medical, personnel, and security records of individuals; anticipated material requirements or price actions; possible new sites for government operations; and knowledge of forthcoming programs or of selection of contractors or subcontractors in advance of official announcements);
      8. negotiating or influencing the negotiation of contracts relating to the employee's sponsored project between the University and private organizations with which the employee has consulting or other significant relationships;
      9. accepting gratuities or special favors from private organizations with which the University does or may conduct business in connection with a sponsored project and extension of gratuities or special favors to employees of the sponsor under circumstances which might reasonably be interpreted as an attempt to influence the recipients in the conduct of their duties.
    6. See Section VI Procedures for the disclosure process.
  4. Organizational COI
    1. Organizational conflict of interest means a situation where because of relationships with a parent company, affiliate, or subsidiary organization, the non-Federal entity is unable or appears to be unable to be impartial in conducting a procurement action involving a related organization (2 CFR 200.318(c)(2)).
    2. When an employee engaged in a government-sponsored project also serves as a consultant to a federal agency, their conduct is subject to the provisions of the Conflict of Interest Statutes (18 U.S.C. 202-209 as amended) and all other provisions governing special government employees. (See, for example, the United States Office of Government Ethics).
    3. When an employee consults for one or more government contractors or prospective contractors in the same technical field as their research, care must be taken to avoid giving advice that may be of questionable objectivity because of its possible bearing on the employee's other interests.
    4. In undertaking and performing consulting services, the employee must make full disclosure of such interests to the University and to the contractor insofar as they may appear to relate to the work at the University or for the contractor. COI problems could arise, for example, in the participation of an employee of the University in an evaluation for the government agency or its contractor of some technical aspects of the work of another organization with which the employee has a consulting or employment relationship or a significant financial interest or in an evaluation of a competitor to such other organization.
  5. Sponsored Project Conflict of Interest Requirements
    1. Organizations, including but not limited to the Food and Drug Administration and publishers, may require disclosure beyond those required above. Investigators shall be responsible for any such required disclosures in addition to SIUE COI disclosure.
    2. Definitions
      1. Financial Conflict of Interest means a significant financial interest that could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of PHS funded research.
      2. Immediate Family for FCOI means an investigator's spouse, civil union or domestic partner, and anyone who receives directly or indirectly more than half of his or her support from the investigator or from whom the investigator receives directly or indirectly more than half of his or her support.
      3. Investigator means the project director or any other person regardless of title who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of a project funded by the sponsor, which may include collaborators, subcontractors, and consultants. However, some sponsors, such as the Department of Energy, may expand this definition to include any person who participates in a project.
      4. Institutional Responsibilities means an investigator's professional responsibilities on behalf of SIUE, including scholarship, consultation, teaching, professional practice, and University committee membership.
      5. Significant Financial Interest (SFI) means one or more of the following interests of the investigator and those of his/her immediate family that reasonably appears to be related to the investigator's institutional responsibilities. Remuneration includes salary and any payment for services not otherwise identified as salary as well as equity interest including stock, stock option, and ownership interest.
        1. A SFI exists in relation to a publicly traded entity if the value of any remuneration received in the 12 months preceding the disclosure and the value of any equity interest in the entity totals to exceed $5000.
        2. A SFI exists in relation to non-publicly traded entities when the value of remuneration exceeds $5000 or when the investigator and his/her family hold any equity interest or any intellectual property rights and interests. Note that there is no minimum value for equity interest in non-publicly traded entities.
        3. A SFI includes any reimbursed or sponsored investigator travel related to his or her institutional responsibilities. Reimbursed or sponsored travel includes travel that is paid on behalf of the investigator but not reimbursed directly to the investigator.
      6. The following are excluded from the definition of significant financial interest:
        1. salary, royalties or other remuneration paid by SIUE to the investigator for appropriate grant and contract activity;
        2. intellectual property rights assigned to SIUE and agreements to share royalties related to those 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 in these vehicles;
        4. income from seminars, lectures or teaching engagements sponsored by SIUE; a federal, state, or local agency or institution of higher education; or an academic hospital, medical center or research institute affiliated with a university;
        5. income from service to advisory committees or review panels associated with the same agencies identified in item d above.
    3. Training
      Each investigator must complete FCOI training prior to engaging in a project requiring FCOI disclosure. Investigators must complete training every 4 years and immediately when any of the following occurs:
      • the University finds the investigator noncompliant with its policy or a management plan; or
      • the investigator is new to the University; or
      • the University policy changes in a manner that significantly affects requirements.
    4. Record Keeping
      The University must maintain FCOI-related records for at least 3 years after the termination of the activity (date of the final financial report and progress report to the funding agency).
    5. See Section VI Procedures for the disclosure process.
  1.  Procedures
    1. General Principles
      1. Employees must disclose to the University:
        • All outside interests and outside activities for determination of any potential and actual conflicts of interest, including those around nepotism and procurement and conflicts of commitment
        • Potential financial conflicts of interest that could affect the design, conduct, or reporting of sponsored projects from entities that require disclosure of potential and actual financial conflicts of interest. The University will endeavor to keep disclosed financial information confidential
      2. Employees may not maintain unacceptable conflicts of interest or commitment.
      3. No employee may have interests or commitments incompatible with the University. An interest incompatible with the University includes but is not limited to any commitment between an employee and external entity:
        1. that may restrict or impair the employee's ability to perform their activities at the University; or
        2. that results in the transfer or compromise of existing or potential University rights in intellectual property; or
        3. that utilizes University resources without prior written approval of the University.

          For definitions, see the previous sections.
    2. Disclosure, Review, and Management
      1. Non-FCOI COI/COC (including outside employment)
        Disclose outside interests and outside activities including outside employment, via the Disclosure, Review, and Management online portal.
      2. FCOI
        To ensure SIUE's compliance with Federal disclosure and management requirements, the following persons are required to complete and submit a Financial Conflict of Interest Disclosure form via the online portal.

        • Any investigator on a project being submitted to a sponsor that requires FCOI disclosure must disclose at the time of project submission and identify any significant financial interests (SFIs);
        • Investigators on such projects must disclose within 30 days after they become aware of a new SFI.
        • Non-Investigators who change status to Investigator on a funded project must immediately disclose.
        • Investigators added to an ongoing funded project who were not identified as investigators in the proposal must disclose immediately.Disclosure, Review and Management

The Institution Designated official reviews disclosures of SFI based on procedures and guidelines developed to sufficiently determine if an SFI exists.

Any conflicts of interest identified in the disclosure process must be resolved before the University can approve the individual's activity on the project. The University must complete and document retrospective reviews within 120 days of the University's determination of noncompliance for SFIs not disclosed in a timely manner or previously reviewed or whenever an FCOI is not identified or managed in a timely manner.

The University will promptly report any conflicts of interest the University has identified to the sponsor when required.

The University will comply with the sponsor's public disclosure requirements. NIH's online guidance regarding public accessibility via written response will be followed.

Procedures and guidelines for the disclosure, review, and management of disclosures are managed by the Graduate School in compliance with all state and federal rules and regulations. The procedures may be revised by the Graduate School as necessary.

      1. Procurement
        The full details of COI in Procurement as well as procedures for approval can be found at Purchasing_COI_policy.pdf (

        Note that the Procurement requirements apply to contracted employees but not independent contractors.

        Questions or concerns regarding application of or compliance with this policy should be directed to the Purchasing Department (x3255,
      2. Nepotism
        Disclose and submit management plan via the online portal.
      3. Hiring and Performance Reviews
        Documentation of the disclosure of any perceived conflict and resolution is to be reported to the EOA office on this form and retained as part of the hiring sequence record.

        Any employee/committee member that learns of a potential conflict that has not been disclosed and/or resolved by the employee recusing themselves may complete the same form and submit to the EOA office to investigate and evaluate the conflict. This form may be submitted anonymously.
    1. Charges of violations of this Policy shall be carefully examined. Charges shall be processed in the normal reporting channels. Disciplinary sanctions may range from reprimands to dismissal, pursuant to University policies and any applicable bargaining agreements.

Approved by Chancellor effective 3/27/23
This policy was issued on May 16, 2023, replacing the April 25, 2019
Document Reference: 1Q9
Origin: OC 3/12/04; GR 13/14-11; OC 9/9/15; OC 4/20/19; GR 21/22-15

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