One way to describe 'conflict of interest' is a situation in which there is discord between a primary duty and secondary interests. While interests can be either financial or non-financial, they can lead to bias in the conduct and/or interpretation of research, and they can have an impact on the safety of human or animal research subjects. Sometimes, financial interests will simply create the 'appearance' of compromising an investigator's professional judgment in conducting or reporting research. Conflict of interest strikes to the heart of the integrity of the researcher as well as the University and the public's confidence in both.
According to the Association of American Universities Task Force on Research Accountability, "the problem is rarely a particular conflict itself - rather it is the question about what is done with the conflict. In most cases, problems arise when the conflict is not made apparent, or when it is not assessed or managed" (Report on Individual and Institutional Financial Conflict of Interest, 2001).
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents policy is based on a shared responsibility between the employees and the administration of the University. Employees are expected to comply with all disclosure requirements outlined in the policy.
Implementing the Individual Business or Financial Conflict of Interest Regents Policy describes the University administration’s responsibilities: "Once proposed activities have been administratively reviewed with a plan of action completed and approved, the University administration has the responsibility to vigorously defend the activity so long as the employee complies with the plan of action, the disclosure requirements, other University policies, and the law."
Individual Business or Financial Conflict of Interest Policy