What is a Conflict of Interest? Program Goals & Expectations COI Committee & Staff

What is a Conflict of Interest?

Conflict of interest:  For an employee of the University, a general conflict of interest is when an individual’s outside interests affect or appear to affect his or her professional judgment in carrying out University responsibilities.

The existence of a conflict of interest does not mean that the outside interest is influencing University activities; however, a conflict of interest does increase the risk of unintentional bias and, in some cases, outside financial interests may tempt individuals to intentionally bias their University activities.

Research Conflict of Interest:  The types of conflicts reviewed by the Office of Research Integrity, the COI Officer and the COI Committee are conflicts of interest in research.  Research conflicts of interest occur when an individual responsible for the design, conduct or reporting of OSU research has an outside interest that may affect or appear to affect the research they are responsible for.

*Note: OSU policy specifically defines a research conflict of interest existing when the outside financial interest is “significant” (FAQ: SFI definition).Return to Top of FAQ Section


COI Program Goals

  1. Maintain the integrity of OSU research and protect the public trust in OSU research
  2. Communicate clear guidelines for identifying and disclosing information to identify real and perceived conflicts of interest
  3. Create an environment that allows faculty members to feel comfortable communicating with the COI office, including
    1. Discussing situations to determine if a COI exists
    2. Asking questions regarding COI policy
    3. Providing educational opportunities for faculty individually or as a group, departmentally or otherwise

Expectations for Faculty

  1. Promote research objectivity at OSU by knowing and following the institutional Research Conflicts of Interest Policy
  2. Complete an online disclosure form (“declaration”) annually or as your outside activities and financial interests change, as required by the COI policy (FAQ: Who has to disclose?)
  3. Communicate with the COI office when any questions ariseReturn to Top of FAQ Section


Conflict of Interest Committee

The Conflict of Interest Committee is made up of faculty representing the diverse academic and research and scholarship disciplines, as well as administrative functions, at the University.  The committee serves in an advisory capacity to the COI Officer who is responsible for reviewing, identifying and managing potential conflicts of interest.

Committee Member Department/Unit
Belinda Batten (Chair) Centers/Institutes
Dan Lykins (Vice Chair)      Business
SueAnn Bottoms Education
Kerri Goergen-Doll Library
Michael Harte Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Arup Indra Pharmacy
Pat Iversen Agricultural Sciences
Donald Jump Public Health and Human Sciences
David McIntyre Science
 Bill Smart  Engineering
Mark Peters COI Officer; Interim Director, Office of Research Integrity
Lisa Leventhal Institutional Review Board

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COI Staff

Conflict of Interest Administrator

Nicole Wolf
Phone: 541-737-4692
Email: Nicole.Wolf@oregonstate.edu

Responsibilities: Providing educational opportunities for faculty; giving presentations on the COI program; conducting preliminary reviews of online declarations; communicating with faculty to gather information regarding their research, outside activities and financial interests; maintaining the online submission system; and providing support to the COI Officer and COI Committee.

Conflict of Interest Officer

Mark Peters
Email: COI@oregonstate.edu

Responsibilities: Final review of online declarations; in-depth review of conflict of interest cases; requesting and considering advice from the COI Committee; and the execution and monitoring of conflict of interest management.

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