Office of Research Conflict of Commitment - Office of Research

Conflict of Commitment

Outside Professional Activities That Are Ordinarily Not Permitted

  • Assuming an executive or managerial position in a for-profit or not-for-profit business. This does not include consulting for or serving on the board of directors of an outside entity.
  • Administering a grant outside the university that would ordinarily be administered under the auspices of the university.
  • Serving as a salaried employee outside the university.
  • Engaging in other compensated outside professional activities which common sense and good judgment would indicate are likely to raise issues of conflict of commitment.

Faculty are required to obtain approval before engaging in any of the above activities, which are ordinarily not allowable. These are termed “Category I Activities.”

Generally Permissible Outside Professional Activities

Permissible outside professional activities are divided into two other categories:

Category II

Category II activities are unlikely to raise issues of conflict of commitment and are ordinarily accepted as regularly performed and ordinarily allowable compensated outside professional activities. Such activities are counted within the 39/48-day time limit and must be reported annually. Examples include:

  • Providing expert testimony in administrative, legislative, or judicial proceedings.
  • Providing consulting services or engaging in professional practice where such activities are provided by the faculty member acting as an individual, or through his or her single member professional corporation or sole proprietorship. Providing such services through other types of organizations or arrangements is a Category I activity which requires prior approval.
  • Serving on the board of directors of an outside entity.

Category III

Category III activities are integral to all disciplines and ordinarily do not present issues of conflict of commitment. They are accepted as part of the faculty member’s scholarly and creative work. Even if compensated, they are allowable, are not counted within the 39/48-day limit, and do not need to be reported annually.

  • Serving on a federal, state, or local government agency, committee, panel, or commission.
  • Acting in an editorial capacity for a professional journal.
  • Reviewing journal manuscripts, book manuscripts, or grant or contract proposals.
  • Attending and presenting talks at scholarly colloquia and conferences.
  • Developing scholarly communications in the form of books, journal articles, movies, television productions, and similar works, even when such activities result in financial gain.
  • Serving as a committee member or as an officer of a professional or scholarly society.
  • Accepting a commission for an artistic work or performance that is considered an integral part of a faculty member’s academic portfolio.
  • Accepting honoraria (other than those received for Category II activities) and prizes.

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Leaves to Participate in Outside Professional Activities

If a faculty member anticipates any outside compensated or uncompensated professional activity that would interfere with the performance of university duties and responsibilities, then the university may grant the faculty member an unpaid leave for up to one year to pursue the activity. A request to extend such a leave for one additional year is considered an exceptional request and requires review and approval by the Senior Vice Chancellor. A total of two years is the maximum total leave time that may be granted for a faculty member to participate in outside professional activities.


If a professor has a role/interest in a company, the university Conflict of Commitment Policy applies, as do UC Davis-specific guidelines for Reporting on Outside Professional Activities. Please see these documents for complete information on conflict of commitment.

More information on Conflict of Commitment.

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