Conflict of Interest

State & Federal Laws

There are a number of state and federal laws regarding conflicts of interest that apply to university employees. Under the California Political Reform Act of 1974, all university employees must disqualify themselves from participating in university decisions, or using their positions to influence university decisions, if the decision could have a reasonably foreseeable effect on their personal financial interests. Additionally, the Political Reform Act requires Principal Investigators to disclose their financial interests in the private sponsors of their research.

The financial disclosure requirements are broader under federal law when a project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation or an agency under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services. Federal regulations require that all personnel responsible for the design, conduct or reporting of such projects disclose their significant financial interests in entities that would reasonably appear to be affected by the work performed under the federally sponsored project.

University Policy

To ensure compliance with the state and federal conflict of interest laws and university policy, UC Davis requires investigators to complete financial interest disclosures whenever a sponsored project is proposed.Consulting income from the sponsoring entity or an entity related to a proposed federal project is one of the interests that must be disclosed.Other financial interests that must be disclosed include equity, other income, and gifts from research sponsors or entities that might benefit from a federally-sponsored research project. (More information on university policy regarding conflict of interest)

Conflict of Interest Committee

Disclosures received from investigators are reviewed by UC Davis’ Conflict of Interest Committee.The committee is comprised of faculty members and administrators from departments throughout the campus and health system.The committee determines whether a potential conflict of interest exists and, if so, whether the conflict can be managed so that the research can proceed

If the committee determines that a conflict exists, the committee may recommend that the investigator manage the conflict by disclosing his or her financial interests in publications and presentations related to the sponsored research.Alternatively, where disclosure is not sufficient to manage a conflict, the committee may recommend that a subcommittee be appointed to review the research and manage the conflict.In some cases, the committee may determine that the conflict cannot be managed and the research funding should be rejected.

If you have questions about the conflict of interest policy or process, please contact the Office of Research, Research Compliance and Integrity Office.

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