Categories and Examples of Potential Conflicts
Activities that may involve conflicts of interest or commitment fall into four general categories that differentiate interests, activities and relationships according to potential for adverse impact.
Category I: Relationships that are generally allowed because they do not compromise the objectivity of research results, the integrity of faculty-student interaction, decision-making, or other interests of the University, a sponsor, or the public. These relationships are generally minimal in their personal financial impact, and otherwise do not represent a potential source of unreasonable bias. If these relationships involve the receipt of compensation or reimbursement, they must be reported at least annually so long as they continue to exist and may be subject to investigation and further oversight by appropriate University personnel.
Category II: Relationships that may be allowed following administrative review and analysis. Such relationships may necessitate supervisory procedures be put in place to prevent bias or inappropriate activities and to ensure academic standards and institutional integrity.
Category III: Relationships presenting such serious problems that they are generally presumed to be inappropriate. In such cases, a heavy burden will rest with the faculty or staff member to demonstrate to the University’s satisfaction the compatibility of such practices with University policy prior to going forward with the proposed activity and the implementation of an appropriate management plan.
Category IV: Relationships that are not permitted.
The examples provided below are representative, but not all-inclusive examples of activities in each of the four categories:
Category I: Activities That Are Allowable but Must Be Disclosed
- Receipt of royalties or other payments for scholarly works, other writings, or for inventions,
- Receipt of compensation in the form of honoraria or reimbursement in connection with service to professional associations, service on review panels, presentation of scholarly works, and/or participation in accreditation reviews.
Category II: Activities Requiring Disclosure for Further Administrative Review and Analysis
- Requirement that students purchase a textbook or related instructional materials written or copyrighted by faculty or staff, or members of his or her immediate family, which produces compensation for the faculty, staff or family member.
- Receipt of compensation or gratuities from any individual or entity doing business with the University. Note that no University employee may seek or receive any gift, reward, or promise of reward for recommending, influencing, or attempting to influence the award of a contract by his or her employer. (See N.C.G.S. 14-234 and N.C.G.S 138A).
- Service on the board of directors or scientific advisory board of an enterprise that provides financial support for University research when the faculty or staff member, or a member of his or her immediate family, may benefit from such financial support.
- An equity or ownership interest in a publicly or non-publicly-traded entity or enterprise held by a faculty or staff member, or a member of his or her immediate family, that does business with the University or is related to their university employment responsibilities.
- Receipt of financial support for University research under conditions that require research results to be held confidential, withheld from publication, or inordinately delayed in publication. Research conducted by faculty or students under any form of sponsorship must maintain the University’s open teaching and research philosophy and must adhere to a policy that prohibits secrecy in research, unless approved by the UNC President.
Category III: Activities That Are Generally Not Allowable or Permitted Unless an Approved Conflict of Interest Management Plan is in Place
- University research that involves the use of a technology owned by, or contractually obligated to (by license or an option to license, or otherwise) the individual, or to an enterprise or entity, in which the individual or a member of his or her immediate family has a consulting relationship, holds an equity or ownership interest, or holds an executive position.
- Receipt of grant or contract funding for University research from an enterprise or entity in which the individual or a member of his or her immediate family has an equity or ownership interest.
- Assignments of students, post-doctoral fellows, or other trainees to University research projects sponsored by an enterprise or entity in which the individual or a member of his or her immediate family has an equity or ownership interest.
Category IV: Activities that are Not Allowable under Any Circumstances
- Referrals of University business to an external enterprise in which a faculty or staff member or a member of his or her immediate family has a financial interest.
- Negotiating or administering a contract on behalf of the University from which a faculty or staff member derives a direct benefit from the contract.
- Soliciting or receiving a gift, favor, reward or service, or promise of an award in exchange for recommending, influencing, or attempting to influence the award of a contract by the University.
- Associating a faculty or staff member’s own name with the University in such a way as to profit financially by trading on the reputation or goodwill of the University.
- Unauthorized use by faculty or staff of privileged information acquired in connection with one’s University responsibilities.
- Signing agreements that assign University patent and other intellectual property rights to third parties without prior University approval.
- Any activity otherwise prohibited by law or University policy.