Conflict of Interest

A Conflict of Interest exists in any situation in which an Investigator’s personal considerations or other outside interests affect, or appear to affect, their judgment when conducting sponsored research or in the performance of other Institutional Responsibilities. Examples of a Conflict of Interest include: a Significant Financial Interest; a Business Interest; and a Familial Conflict of Interest.

The University and its Employees often benefit from Employees' participation in both public and private outside activities. The University has no interest in unreasonably interfering with Employees' legitimate outside interests. University Employees, in turn, have an obligation to ensure that their outside obligations, financial interests, and activities do not conflict or interfere with their commitment to conduct University research and other sponsored activity without improper influence, and to disclose to the University all actual or potential Conflicts of Interest.

The Boston College Conflicts of Interest in Research Policy and Procedures establishes the principles for identifying the potential for conflicts and the procedures for reviewing and addressing actual and potential conflicts to ensure that they do not improperly affect University research and other sponsored activities. By reporting and managing conflicts from the start, the University and the Investigator can work together to prevent outcomes that may be harmful to either the Investigator or the University at large.

Disclosures of Conflicts of Interest should be made on grant proposals, IRB protocol proposals and agreements concerning intellectual property. To assist faculty and research staff in identifying potential conflicts and managing those that exist, the university has created a Conflict of Interest Committee to evaluate disclosures of Conflicts of Interest and, if necessary, develop a plan to manage it. It is important for researchers to anticipate and manage even the potential perception of a Conflict of Interest, since it could have a negative effect on the public’s view of the researcher’s work. Guidelines on acceptable and unacceptable external affiliations can be found in the Resources section at the bottom of this page.

If Conflict of Interest training is needed for PHS funded grants, this can be completed through CITI.

Conflicts of Commitment are addressed in the Faculty Handbook.

If you have any questions regarding this policy or would like to discuss a Conflict of Interest matter, please contact Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Director of Research Security, Integrity and Compliance.


Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest