POLICY ON CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN SPONSORED RESEARCH


Final version amended and approved by the BOD on November 28, 2012

Introduction

Faculty members at Notre Dame University – Louaize (NDU) are committed to do research for the expansion and dissemination of knowledge and education, in conformity with the University’s Identity, Mission, Vision, and Values.
The purpose of this policy is to outline the principles for identifying and managing financial conflicts of interest related to sponsored research conducted at the University. Conflict of interest could arise:

  • When a member of the University involved in sponsored research is in a position to influence a decision, policy, or purchase, with the intent to financially benefit, provide benefit to others, or advantage or disadvantage a colleague, staff member, or student.
  • As a consequence of researchers’ involvement in outside activities or commitment, adversely affecting the primary faculty commitment to NDU in terms of student instruction, research, and services.
When a researcher (or immediate family member or co-dependent) has a financial interest in an external venture that exhibits similarity to the researcher’s line of investigation at the University. Such financial interest encompasses any form of paid service.

Guiding Principles for Avoiding Conflict of Interest

  1. Research findings are normally disseminated as broadly as possible. Researchers working on sponsored research projects however, reserve the right not to disclose information or content of research unless an approval is granted by the stakeholders.
  2. Sponsored research cannot be accepted if the findings are predicated, predetermined, dictated, or influenced by the sponsor or any other party.
  3. The University encourages research involving student participation as part of its educational goals; however, the students’ competencies, rights, and well-being must prevail over any other consideration(s) in the selection process. Researchers must exercise common sense when involving students in projects, with outcomes that serve the interests of a researcher in terms of personal gain or any other personal benefit accruing from such research.
It is the duty of researchers involved in external consulting or other agreements to ensure that these external commitments do not in any way conflict with the NDU policy, or the commitment of the University under sponsored grant or contract.

Resolving Conflict of Interest

The professional integrity of a researcher is the first and most fundamental line of defense against conflict of interest. In the emergence of a Conflict of Interest, a disclosure form must be submitted to an ad-hoc committee of the University Research Board (URB): Conflict of Interest Review Committee (URB-CIRC). This committee convenes under the authority of the VPRSD. It receives and evaluates each case in collaboration with the Dean of the concerned Faculty. After due investigation, the committee will recommend the appropriate measure(s) to the President by which research objectives would be reached.