A conflict of interest in research exists when a financial or other interest may compromise, or appear to compromise, the design, conduct, or reporting of research. The Research Conflict of Interest program at the University of Texas at Dallas functions in part to fulfill requirements in federal law that federal funding recipients maintain and enforce a policy governing research conflicts of interest, and to inform individuals of this policy. The RCOI program also provides a framework for investigators to protect the integrity of their research by identifying and disclosing situations that may pose a conflict, and working with the Office of Research Compliance to manage such situations.
University Policy: UT Dallas is committed to ensuring its faculty an open and productive environment in which to conduct teaching and research. The university's concern with conflict of interest reflects the ever-increasing complexity of our society, our various relations with each other and with outside institutions, along with the heightened national and governmental sensitivity to such matters. UT Dallas takes the position that faculty and researchers can participate in situations involving potential conflicts in conjunction with appropriate supervision and monitoring by the University. The guidelines and principles articulated in the RCOI policy balance the professional autonomy of investigators inherent in the self-regulation of research with the institutional responsibility UT Dallas accepts to know what conflicts might exist at the University and to manage, reduce, or eliminate those conflicts.
Disclosure Portal: The Conflict of Interest and Commitment Disclosure must be completed annually by all UT Dallas investigators who contribute significantly to research projects supported by external funding. Investigators working on research that is not supported by external funding must complete an annual compliance training regarding the policy that will help them determine whether they have a conflict of interest that requires disclosure. Teaching faculty and student researchers should also complete the annual compliance training to determine if they have a conflict of interest that requires disclosure. The disclosure also allows faculty and research employees to comply with the requirements for the approval of outside activities articulated in the “Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment and Outside Activities” policy. Please contact the Conflict of Interest Manager if you are unsure whether you need to disclose an outside interest or request approval for an outside activity.
Research Integrity Committee (RIC):The RIC is responsible for the review of research conflicts of interest on behalf of UT Dallas. The Conflict of Interest Manager administers the process by which the RIC reviews potential research conflicts of interest and approves Conflict of Interest Management Plans. Under this process, research investigators have the opportunity to discuss with a Management Plan Review Panel the nature of their potential conflict of interest and determine the steps necessary to manage this conflict appropriately. The research investigator and Review Panel will agree on a formal conflict of interest management plan that will then be implemented and monitored by the Office of Research Compliance.
PHS Conflict of Interest Training: UT Dallas investigators who contribute significantly to research projects funded by the U.S. Public Health Service must complete conflict of interest training at least every four years in order to receive PHS funding. This training must be complete before submission of the proposal for PHS funding. Please contact the Conflict of Interest Manager if you are unsure whether you need to complete the PHS training.
Our Case Studies also provide situational examples that illustrate the kinds of relationships that involve outside activities and interests that require action under UTD policy.
Conflicts of interest may also exist when a financial or other interest may impair or influence an individual’s judgment in performing his or her duties and responsibilities on behalf of UT Dallas other than research. These conflicts may arise in situations involving the negotiation and approval of contracts agreements between UT Dallas and outside entities, procurement processes, and other financial transactions. For more information regarding conflicts of interest that are not related to research at UT Dallas, please contact the Office of Compliance.