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 RCOI Officer and the RCOI 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


RCOI 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 RCOI Program Office, including
    1. Discussing situations to determine if an RCOI exists
    2. Asking questions regarding RCOI 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 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 RCOI Program Office when any questions ariseReturn to Top of FAQ Section


Research Conflict of Interest Committee

The Research 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 RCOI Officer who is responsible for reviewing, identifying and managing potential conflicts of interest.

Committee Member Department/Unit
Dan Lykins (Chair)      Business
Michael Harte Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Arup Indra Pharmacy
 Bill Smart  Engineering
Anita Eisenstadt COI Officer; Assistant Vice President for Research Integrity
Lisa Leventhal Institutional Review Board
David Dickson Office of Commercialization and Corporate Development

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RCOI Staff

Research 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 RCOI Program; conducting preliminary reviews of disclosures; communicating with faculty to gather information regarding their research and financial interests; maintaining the online disclosure system; and providing support to the RCOI Officer and RCOI Committee.


Research Conflict of Interest Officer

Anita Eisenstadt
Email: COI@oregonstate.edu

Responsibilities: Final review of disclosures; in-depth review of research conflict of interest cases; requesting and considering advice from the RCOI Committee; and the execution and monitoring of research conflict of interest management.

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