Policy Approved: August 17, 2017
Policy Effective: August 31, 2017
Last Updated: March 28, 2024


This policy sets forth the obligations of Oregon State University and its employees, students, and affiliates (“individuals”), with respect to financial conflicts of interest that involve university-affiliated research and sponsored project activities.

The university encourages professional collaborations with individuals, companies, and other entities (“entities”) external to the university. Such external relationships can further the university’s commitment to excellence in research, education, and engagement, but may also result in conflicts of interest.  A conflict of interest arises when an individual’s external interest(s) may, or could appear to, bias or unduly influence their decision-making during university work, or compromise their ability to fulfill their obligations to the university.

This policy seeks to maintain objectivity across the lifespan of university research so that the design, conduct, outcomes, and reporting of university-affiliated research will not be biased, or perceived as biased, because of financial interests held by a researcher or their family members.  Researchers are to conduct their affairs so that they recognize possible financial conflicts of interest, disclose them promptly to the university, and maintain their affairs so that they avoid or minimize conflicts of interest when they could or do exist.

Every researcher has an obligation to become familiar with and abide by the provisions of this policy. Questions about financial conflicts of interest in research should be directed to the Research Conflict of Interest (RCOI) program office.

OSU researchers are to initially manage potential research conflicts of interest by remaining current with the following requirements:

•    Training. Researchers are to complete initial and ongoing training on this policy, their University responsibilities, and the federal regulations covering Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research (see Section V).

•    Disclosures. Researchers are to submit initial, ad-hoc, and annual disclosures of external financial interests that may constitute a Significant Financial Interest (SFI) (see Section IV).  Disclosures must include both U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based SFIs.

The Research Office and supervisors are to review disclosures and as appropriate, manage, reduce, or eliminate Research Conflicts of Interest (see Section VI).



OSU research is to be conducted with high professional standards and expectations for integrity. The standards of conduct below do not encompass all possible situations that could occur but should underpin the activities of OSU researchers.
1.    Individuals should not accept other employment or engage in external professional activities that would:

a.    Unduly influence their independent judgment as they perform university-affiliated work; or
b.    Require them to disclose confidential information acquired during their university work, to an external entity.

2.    Individuals should not disclose or use confidential information acquired during their university work to further their personal or financial interests.

3.    Individuals should not engage with an external entity if they have a financial interest in that entity that could reasonably conflict with their research or university responsibilities.

4.    Individuals should abstain from investing in entities that could benefit from decisions they could make as a representative of the university.

5.    Individuals should not accept benefits, remuneration, gifts, loans, or otherwise engage with an entity, if circumstances would reasonably infer that those benefit(s) could unduly influence or reward decisions that they could make during university work.



This policy applies to all individuals (termed “researchers” or “investigators,” see definitions in Sect. IV) who are materially involved with university-affiliated research activities such as those described in protocols, proposals, studies, awards, or other research activity agreements. This policy is based on the requirements of the U.S. Public Health Service regulation and the National Science Foundation policy as they apply to their grantee institutions. These requirements promote objectivity in research by requiring that significant financial interests which arise from relationships with entities external to the university are disclosed to the university by the investigator with the financial interest, and managed, reduced, or eliminated as appropriate to reduce the risk of bias in research and related activities affiliated with the university.

This policy does not address other types of conflicts of interest that may arise for individuals affiliated with the university. Other laws and policies may apply to interactions between OSU employees and entities that are external to the university.

What Is a Research Conflict of Interest at OSU?
A financial conflict of interest in research (“Research Conflict of Interest” or “Research Conflict”) arises when university-affiliated research could be directly and significantly affected by a financial interest held by an investigator or their family member(s) (see Sect. IV for definitions). Such financial interests often arise from collaborations and relationships between extenral entities and university members involved in research.  

Examples of possible research conflicts include, but are not limited to:

  • Provision of funding, materials, products, or other support for university research from an external entity in which investigators or their family members have a financial interest.
  • Receipt of payments from an external entity that may be interested in or related to your research.
  • Holding or selling stock or stock options in an external entity that may be interested in or related to your research.
  • Holding a position in an external entity that may be interested in or related to your research.
  • Using university resources to benefit an external entity.



Aggregate value means the consolidated and summed total, in U.S. dollars, received from a single entity (i.e., remuneration, equity interests, sponsored travel, gifts, etc.) by the discloser and their family member(s).  

Disclosure means submitting a completed or updated university disclosure form for external financial interests related to research.

Equity means owning shares or stock, or receiving or holding any other type of ownership interest in an entity.

Entity means any person, business, company, organization, institution, agency, or government (other than the U.S. federal government). An entity may be U.S.- or non-U.S.-based, privately- or publicly-held, or hold a for-profit or non-profit tax status.

  • “Private entity” refers to a business with stock or other ownership interests which cannot be bought or sold by the public
  • “External entity” refers to any entity other than Oregon State University.
  • “Foreign entity” refers to any business, organization, agency, university, government, or other entity that is not registered or incorporated to do business in the U.S.

Family Member(s) means an Investigator’s spouse or domestic partner, and any dependent child(ren).

Financial Interest means anything of economic value held or received by an Investigator or their Family Member(s), originating from an Entity (other than Oregon State University) regardless of whether the dollar value is readily available or ascertainable.

Financial Interests include, but are not limited to:

a)    Remuneration
b)    Equity or other ownership interests (e.g., stocks, stock options) in an Entity
c)    Intellectual property rights and interests (e.g., patents, trademarks, copyrights)
d)    Sponsorship or reimbursement of travel- and lodging-related expenses

Financial Interests do not include:

a)    Remuneration received directly from Oregon State University for carrying out University responsibilities;
b)    Remuneration received for Investigator-provided seminars, lectures, teaching engagements, or services provided to advisory committees or review panels, when provided by: U.S. Federal, state, or local governmental agencies; or, U.S. institutions of higher education and their affiliated research institutes, academic teaching hospitals, and medical centers located within the U.S.;
c)    Income or equity held in investment vehicles such as mutual funds or blind trusts, where the Investigator and their Family Member(s) do not directly control the decisions made in those investment vehicles.

Management plan means an appropriately reviewed and signed document that describes actions taken or that must be taken, to address a Research Conflict of Interest.

Outside or External Professional Activities means those activities undertaken and performed, outside of an Investigator’s University responsibilities, that utilizes their professional skills and expertise.

Remuneration includes salary, payments for services, in-kind benefits; or receipt of cash, gifts, sponsorship, reimbursements, advances, loans or loan forgiveness, or other types of compensation.

Research encompasses basic research, applied research, and experimental development; and the education and training of others in basic and applied research and experimental development.

Research Conflict of Interest (RCOI) means the existence of a Significant Financial Interest which could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, outcomes, or reporting of Research affiliated with the university.  RCOI is the university equivalent to the regulatory definition of Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI).

Research Conflict of Interest Officer (RCOI Officer) is the Institutional Official who determines whether a Research Conflicts of Interest exists, and directs the implementation of a Management Plan to address it appropriately.

Researcher (or Investigator) means an individual who contributes, or is expected to contribute, to a significant aspect of the design, conduct, outcomes, or reporting of research & development projects affiliated with the university. Principal investigators and senior/key personnel who seek or receive support for OSU-affiliated research activities and programs are always Investigators under this policy, as well as any others who meet the definition above.  An active investigator is one who meets the definition above for one or more OSU-affiliated proposals or awards that have not been closed out, or are otherwise active.

Significant Financial Interest (SFI) means financial interests in an entity that (1) are related, or appear to be related, to the Investigator’s research or university responsibilities; and (2) were received or held by the Investigator or their family members during the 12 months prior to disclosure; and when aggregated across the Investigator and their family members, and for the duration of the previous year, (3) meets one of the thresholds below:

a)    Any amount of Equity in a privately-held Entity
b)    $5,000 USD or more of Equity in a publicly-traded Entity
c)    $5,000 USD or more of Remuneration from an Entity
d)    $5,000 USD or more of Financial Interests and Equity received by or held in an Entity

If there is any question about whether a SFI could be related to an Investigator’s Research or University responsibilities, then that SFI must be disclosed so the RCOI program office can make a determination.

Training means completion of the university-approved RCOI course (1) upon initial identification as an Investigator, (2) least every four years thereafter, and (3) otherwise upon request by the RCOI Officer, a supervisor, or other university official. This fulfills the training standard described in the U.S. Public Health Service regulation on Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research. More information about university-approved RCOI training can be found here.

University responsibilities means the Investigator’s obligations and responsibilities associated with their university appointment; for example, activities involving research and research consultation, teaching, advising, clinical or professional practice, administrative duties, university service on committees and panels, and university-based outreach and engagement.


Investigators are required to disclose their external financial interests to the university accurately, completely, and promptly to the RCOI program for review and assessment of any Significant Financial Interests. 

An Investigator must initially disclose:

•    Within 30 days of university appointment, when the investigator expects to contribute to one or more active research proposals or awards within the first year, or
•    Prior to submission of their first research proposal as an Investigator, or
•    Upon request by the RCOI Program Office or the RCOI Officer, their supervisor, or other university official.

Thereafter, Investigators must complete their research disclosure to the university:

•    Within 30 days of discovering or acquiring a new SFI,
•    On an annual basis, whether or not they have any financial interest(s) to disclose, and
•    Upon request by the RCOI Program Office or the RCOI Officer, their supervisor, or other university official.

Investigators are to disclose their external financial interests to the RCOI program using the university’s online disclosure form, available in the Cayuse website.

During review, additional information may be requested in order to determine whether an SFI or RCOI exists, and if so, determine how to reduce, manage, or eliminate the conflict(s). Additional information may be gathered from the Investigator, and from other sources such as university websites, research-related websites, external entity websites, and publicly available databases, on an as-needed basis.   

Some conflict of interest information must be made publicly accessible per PHS requirements. Upon written request, the university will provide necessary information regarding Significant Financial Interest(s) held by Investigators of NIH-funded research projects when the university determines that (1) the SFI(s) are related to NIH-funded projects, and (2) the SFI(s) are Research Conflicts of Interest.



All Researchers must complete university-approved training on this policy and the underlying federal regulations:

•    Initially upon appointment or qualification as an active Investigator, and
•    At least once every four years thereafter.

This training describes regulatory and policy requirements, Investigator responsibilities to the university and to research sponsors, and provides examples of conflict of interest scenarios.  The current Research COI training module is available online in the CITI Program website here.



Review. The RCOI program office initially reviews Investigator disclosures and their research activities, on behalf of the university, to reasonably determine whether an Investigator has an SFI that could:

1.    Be affected by their university research,
2.    Affect the external entity’s financial interests, or
3.    Unduly affect or bias university research.

The RCOI Officer may identify additional individuals to advise on complex or novel issues of actual, potential, or perceived Research Conflicts of Interest, such as representatives from OSU Advantage, Sponsored Research and Award Administration (OSRAA), Faculty Affairs and Human Resources, Export Control, the Graduate School, or other relevant units. If there is a possible conflict of interest but the conflict is not a Research Conflict of Interest, the review will be referred to the individual’s supervisor and appropriate administrative unit, as applicable.  

When the RCOI program identifies an actual or potential Research Conflict of Interest, the scenario is further reviewed to determine what conditions or restrictions may be required to reduce, manage, or eliminate the research conflict.

Management. The RCOI program office drafts a management plan, when necessary, that describes how the Researcher is to manage, reduce, or eliminate the Research Conflict of Interest.

Examples of conditions that could be applied include but are not limited to:

1.    Disclosing the potential conflict to appropriate audiences;
2.    Monitoring of research for undue influence or bias from financial interests;
3.    Modification of research plans that reduces or eliminates the ability of financial interests to affect the research;
4.    Reduction or modification of a researcher’s participation in affected research;
5.    Reduction or modification of a researcher’s duties or appointment;
6.    Partial or complete divestiture of the researcher’s significant financial interest(s); or
7.    Severance of relationships that create the conflict(s).

The management plan is reviewed and signed by the Researcher, their academic supervisor and dean, and the RCOI Officer. Supervisors oversee the implementation of a management plan for researchers who report to them, and Researchers are responsible for managing their conflict(s) in accordance with the terms of their current conflict management plan.



Failure to comply with this policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of appointment in accordance with applicable disciplinary procedures. Possible violations that may lead to disciplinary action include, but are not limited to:

1.    Failure to complete required training or disclose in a timely manner;
2.    Failure to fully disclose a potential conflict;
3.    Failure to fully comply with a required conflict management plan;
4.    Failure to respond to inquiries from the RCOI program office or Officer.

Researchers will receive automated reminders to submit their disclosures and complete their training. The RCOI program office may notify researchers with significantly delinquent disclosures or trainings and request that they complete their obligations. The RCOI Officer will provide a final notification of delinquency and indicate the potential consequences of inaction. The RCOI Officer may, as the Institutional Official, suspend relevant activities or impose other sanctions to help resolve the Research Conflict of Interest(s), or noncompliance with policy and program obligations.

Examples of actions or sanctions that could be applied include but are not limited to:

1.    Requiring the completion of additional training or coursework regarding conflicts of interest
2.    Involvement of a relevant supervisor
3.    Review of whether the research was biased in its design, conduct, outcomes, or reporting
4.    Review of whether information about the research was inappropriately shared with one or more external entities
5.    Notification of Research sponsor(s) regarding policy noncompliance and university plan to resolve the issue(s)
6.    Suspension of researcher from participating on one or more Research project(s)
7.    Suspension of a researcher from submitting additional Research funding applications
8.    Recommendation of disciplinary action(s), including postponement of promotion activities, suspension of employment, or termination from the university

If sanctions are imposed on an Investigator because they failed to comply with: (1) this policy, (2) their current RCOI management plan, or (3) a decision made by the RCOI Officer, then a written explanation will be provided to the Researcher and their supervisor(s).


The Public Health Service (PHS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have specific requirements regarding identification, disclosure, and resolution of financial conflicts of interest that arise in research. The university will meet these sponsor requirements as defined in 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart F (Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which PHS Funding is Sought, or “FCOI Regulations”) and in NSF’s current Proposals and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) by the implementation and enforcement of this policy.



The United States Government has grown increasingly concerned about foreign government efforts to obtain innovative technology and technical data from U.S. researchers and their institutions. As such, when the CHIPS and Sciences Act of 2022 was released, it included a provision prohibiting participation in Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs (MFTRPs) by individuals involved in research and development awards from federal funding agencies and disqualifies Principal Investigators (PIs) and senior/key personnel from receiving federal support if they are participating in an MFTRP.
Policy on Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs:
OSU researchers are encouraged to collaborate with international colleagues, institutions, and companies. This includes engagements with talent recruitment programs operated by foreign countries. However, federally funded OSU researchers are prohibited from participating in malign foreign talent recruitment programs (MFTRP), as defined by the U.S. government. Participation in an MFTRP is not permitted by federal funding agencies or under OSU policy and may impact an individual’s eligibility to receive federal funding for research.  
Participation in any foreign talent recruitment program is considered an outside activity under OSU’s Conflict of Commitment Policy. OSU employees must submit a Request for Approval of Professional Outside Activities Form prior to participating in any FTRP. 
OSU researchers are also to report participation in any foreign talent program in their relevant research proposal documentation (e.g. current and pending support documents) and at least annually in a research COI disclosure.


Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Program (MFTRP): The definition of a malign foreign talent recruitment program (MFTRP) per the Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) and the CHIPS + Science Act is as follows:

1)    Qualifications: Any program, position, or activity that includes compensation in the form of cash, in-kind compensation, including research funding, promised future compensation, complimentary foreign travel, things of non de minimis value, honorific titles, career advancement opportunities, or other types of remuneration or consideration directly provided by a foreign country at any level (national, provincial, or local) or their designee, or an entity based in, funded by, or affiliated with a foreign country, whether or not directly sponsored by the foreign country, to the targeted individual, whether directly or indirectly stated in the arrangement, contract, or other documentation at issue, in exchange for the individual—:

A.    Unauthorized Intellectual Property Transfer: Engaging in the unauthorized transfer of intellectual property, materials, data products, or other nonpublic information owned by a United States entity or developed with a Federal research and development award to the government of a foreign country or an entity based in, funded by, or affiliated with a foreign country regardless of whether that government or entity provided support for the development of the intellectual property, materials, or data products;
B.    Recruitment: Being required to recruit trainees or researchers to enroll in such program, position, or activity;
C.   Establishment of Facilities, a Company, or Employment: Establishing a laboratory or company, accepting a faculty position, or undertaking any other employment or appointment in a foreign country or with an entity based in, funded by, or affiliated with a foreign country if such activities are in violation of the standard terms and conditions of a Federal research and development award;
D.   Unfavorable Termination Terms: Being unable to terminate the foreign talent recruitment program contract or agreement except in extraordinary circumstances;
E.    Foreign Funding: Being required to apply for and successfully receive funding from the sponsoring foreign government's funding agencies with the sponsoring foreign organization as the recipient;
F.   Prohibition of Acknowledgment: Being required to omit acknowledgment of the recipient institution with which the individual is affiliated, or the Federal research agency sponsoring the research and development award, contrary to the institutional policies or standard terms and conditions of the Federal research and development award;
G.   Prohibition of Disclosure: Being required to not disclose to the Federal research agency or employing institution the participation of such individual in such program, position, or activity; or
H.    Conflict of Interest/Commitment: Through funding or effort related to the foreign talent recruitment program, being limited in the capacity to carry out a research and development award or required to engage in work that would result in substantial overlap or duplication with a Federal research and development award; Having a conflict of interest or conflict of commitment contrary to the standard terms and conditions of a Federal research and development award;

 AND  2)  a program that is sponsored by:

A.    A foreign country of concern or an entity based in a foreign country of concern, whether or not directly sponsored by the foreign country of concern;
B.    An academic institution on the list developed under Section 1286(c)(8) of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (10 U.S.C. 4001 note; Public Law 115-232); or See definitions in the Act, Section 10637. 6; or
C.   A foreign talent recruitment program on the list developed under section 1286(c)(9) of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (10 U.S.C. 4001 note; Public Law 115-232).

The following are not considered malign foreign talent programs (MFTRPs):

1)    Making scholarly presentations and publishing written materials regarding scientific information not otherwise controlled under current law;
2)    Participation in international conferences or other international exchanges, research projects or programs that involve open and reciprocal exchange of scientific information, and which are aimed at advancing international scientific understanding and not otherwise controlled under current law; or
3)    Advising a foreign student enrolled at an institution of higher education or writing a recommendation for such a student, at such student’s request.

Foreign Country of Concern: At present, this includes the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, or any other deemed to be a country of concern as determined by the Department of State.

Individuals who violate OSU’s policy on MFTRPs may be subject to an internal compliance review by OSU’s Office of Research Integrity and may be subject to inquiries from Federal funders. Violations may result in corrective or disciplinary action in accordance with policies, rules, and collective bargaining agreements or criminal, civil, administrative or university penalties.
Helpful Links:

Research Security
Disclosure Requirements for International Collaboration
Office of Audit, Risk, and Compliance

Additional OSU Policies:
            Conflict of Commitment Policy
            Export Controls Policy
            International Travel Policy
            Responsible Conduct of Research Policy

Disclosure Forms:
            OSU’s Conflicts of Interest Disclosure Form
            OSU’s Conflict of Commitment Disclosure Form
            NSF Common Form for Biographical Sketch
            NSF Current and Pending (Other) Support Common Form

Questions about Foreign Talent Programs?
Please contact the Export Controls and International Compliance Office



The RCOI program office is responsible for the receipt, processing, review, and retention of RCOI disclosures and related records, and follows the university’s policies for Data Management and Classification and Records Retention.  


Research Conflict of Interest program office: https://research.oregonstate.edu/coi

University Ethics and ethics advisor: https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/oarc/ethics

Accountability and Integrity Hotline: https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/oarc/report-concerns-hotline


Additional information on financial conflicts of interest in research, and other types of conflicts of interest may be found here:
•    Ethics and Conflicts of Interest: https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/oarc/ethics
•    University Code of Ethics: https://policy.oregonstate.edu/policy/university-code-ethics
•    Faculty Appointments and Service, 0200 HRM, Conflict of Commitment and Conflict of Interest:  https://hr.oregonstate.edu/manual/200-faculty-appointments-and-service
•    Conflicts of Interest in Research at OSU: https://research.oregonstate.edu/coi
•    Procurement Ethics and Conflicts of Interest at OSU: https://fa.oregonstate.edu/pacs-manual/100-purchasing-and-contract-ethics
•    Global Engagement Compliance at OSU: https://research.oregonstate.edu/global-engagement-compliance
•    Employing Household Members: https://policy.oregonstate.edu/policy/employing-household-members-faculty
•    Oregon Government Ethics Law, Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 244
•    Oregon Government Ethics Commission: Guide for Public Officials, based on ORS 244
Updated 04/30/2021: https://www.oregon.gov/ogec/Pages/Guide-for-Public-Officials.aspx
•    Oregon Public Universities, Sources of compensation for officers and employees, potential conflict of interest, Oregon Revised Statutes, 352.232
•    NSF Proposals and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (22-1) – Grantee Standards
•    Federal regulations regarding project funding from the Public Health Service (PHS)
42 CFR Part 50, Subpart F (Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which PHS Funding is Sought, or “FCOI Regulations”),
45 CFR Part 49 (Responsible Prospective Contractors)