Conflict of Interest

The Conflict of Interest  (COI) Program manages all Financial Interest Disclosures for the Penn State research community and University Officials and provides support to both the Individual and Institutional Conflict of Interest Committees. The COI Program also maintains the University's individual and institutional conflict of interest policies, guidelines, and procedures and strives to ensure compliance with all federal regulations and University policies (RP06). Additionally, the COI program reports on Outside Business Activities (AC80).

The COI program and policies regulate potential financial and monetary conflicts whereas the Outside Business Activities policy regulates potential conflicts of commitment.

 


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Each year, all Penn State investigators must submit a financial disclosure in COINS during the conflict of interest disclosure period. The 2020 disclosure period began February 1.

Individual Conflict of Interest

The Individual COI Committee and program operates under Individual Conflict of Interest Policy. This policy explains that all investigators must disclose Significant Financial Interests (SFI) as defined in policy RP06 to the COI. Learn more about the Individual COI committee and how to disclose

Institutional Conflict of Interest

Penn State’s Institutional Conflict of Interest Policy establishes coordinated reporting of University financial interests from various offices and annual disclosure of financial and business interests of University Officials (as defined in AD83).  The commitee reviews financial or business interests of the University and of University Officials for potential institutional conflicts of interest. Read more about institutional conflict of interest

COINS

All submissions to the COI must be done in the online system COINS. There are two separate disclosures in COINS- individual and institutional. Only designated university officials are able to submit institutional conflicts of interest. Note: Those wishing to submit individual conflicts of interest are still able to submit even if the department reviewer needs to be updated.

 

Outside Business Activities

Often Penn State faculty engage in entrepreneurial or professional services, both paid and unpaid, that are in the faculty member's general area of expertise but are beyond the scope of the individual's employment at the University. The University encourages its employees to engage in outside activities when such activities enhance the mission of the University, do not compete with the University, and do not conflict or materially interfere with any faculty member's appointment with the University. 

Foreign Affiliation

Federal sponsors of research have begun to place increased scrutiny on researcher involvement with foreign institutions and governments, particularly as it relates to the protection of U.S. research and intellectual property. University faculty commonly collaborate with foreign universities and institutions for the purposes of advancing research and academics. While these relationships are often beneficial and are encouraged by the University, it is necessary to carefully consider the nature of such collaborations and to be fully transparent about them.

Some Significant Financial Interests which researchers disclose under policy RP06, as well as certain Outside Business Activities which faculty disclose under policy AC80, also need to be included in “Other/Pending Support” on grant or contract applications. Researchers are encouraged to visit the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research's webpage outlining the areas of concern and recommendations.

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