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Conflict of Interest

Financial Conflict of Interest for Externally Sponsored Projects

For the purposes of complying with all applicable federal and state regulations and to maintain the integrity and objectivity of its sponsored program activities, Longwood University has established this policy relating to conflicts of interest for externally sponsored projects. Any University employee engaged in, or planning to participate in sponsored projects are required to disclose all known significant financial interest, and those of his/her family members, that would reasonably appear to be affected by the project.

Such disclosures must be made prior to the submission of a proposal for funding. Furthermore, institutions must certify compliance on each proposal as well as develop specific mechanisms by which conflicts of interest will be satisfactorily managed, reduced, or eliminated prior to award or acceptance of an award. The institution must also maintain appropriate records. If a new reportable significant conflict of interest arises at any time during the period after submission of the proposal through the period of the award, the filing of a disclosure is also required.

Additionally, Longwood employees are reminded that, in addition to the provisions of this policy, the activities of University employees are subject to the requirements of the Commonwealth of Virginia State and Local Government Conflicts of Interest Act (Code of Virginia, Section 2.2-3100 et seq.) and the University’s Conflict of Interests Policy 5208.

The Office Sponsored Programs & Research shall provide all faculty and staff who are funded by or are responsible for the design, conduct, reporting or approval of any externally sponsored project with a copy of this policy and advise them of their reporting obligations.

Financial Conflict of Interest Assurance and Disclosure

Procedures

A. Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest

The procedures for disclosure of Significant Financial Interests are as follows:

  1. Current Projects. Faculty and staff participating in currently funded projects shall complete and submit an Investigator Disclosure Statement, to the Director of Sponsored Programs. A new disclosure statement must be completed annually, even if there are no changes, for the term of the project.
  2. New Projects. All faculty and staff shall complete and submit an Investigator Disclosure Statement to the OSPR prior to submitting an application to an external sponsor.
  3. Personnel Added to an Existing Project. An faculty and staff being added to an existing project must complete and submit an Investigator Disclosure Statement to the Director before they can be added to the project. No one shall be added to the project until the disclosure form has been reviewed pursuant to these procedures. The disclosure form must be completed annually.
  4. New or Additional Financial Interests. If any faculty or staff member or family member obtains a new or additional Significant Financial Interest, the faculty or staff member must submit an updated Investigator Disclosure Statement to the Director within 30 days of acquiring the new or additional Significant Financial Int
  5. Annual Disclosure. Faculty or staff members working on an active externally funded project shall annually submit an Investigator Disclosure Statement to the Director on or before the 31st day of January. The annual disclosure statement shall include Significant Financial Interests obtained during the previous calendar year (January 1 through December 31) or that are expected to exceed $5,000 during the next 12 month period.

B. Review of Disclosures

  1. Initial Review by the Director. The Director will review each Investigator Disclosure Statement to ensure that it has been properly filled out and signed by the faculty or staff member to determine the existence of any Significant Financial Interest.If the Director determines that a Significant Financial Interest may exist, then the Investigator Disclosure Statement shall be referred to the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs within 5 working days of receiving the disclosure. The Director shall notify the faculty or staff member that the matter has been referred to the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs for review and that no project funds will be released until a final determination has been made.
  2. Review by the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs. The PVPAA shall review (and where necessary investigate) all information contained in the disclosure statement.
  3. Review by Conflict of Interest Review Committee. If the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs determines that a Conflict of Interest may exist, he or she shall appoint a Conflict of Interest Review Committee to conduct a review of the case and, as necessary, to recommend a resolution plan that places appropriate restrictions to manage, reduce or eliminate the Conflict of Interest.
  4. The Committee should complete its review within 30 working days of Sponsored Projects receiving the disclosure. If additional time is needed, a request can be made to the Associate Provost. After completing its review, the Committee shall make one of the following determinations:
  • No potential or actual Conflict of Interest exists and no further action is necessary
  • A potential or actual Conflict of Interest exists and appropriate controls already exist to manage, reduce or eliminate the Conflict of Interest.
  • A potential or actual Conflict of Interest exists that is not adequately addressed and a resolution plan is prepared to satisfactorily manage, reduce or eliminate the identified conflict of interest so that the faculty or staff member may participate in the research or educational project.
  • A potential or actual Conflict of Interest exists and it is not possible to implement a plan to satisfactorily manage, reduce or eliminate the identified conflict of interest in such a manner as to allow the faculty or staff member to participate in the research or educational project.

 

C. Definitions

Financial Conflict Of Interest means a significant financial interest that is related to proposed research (i.e., the interest reasonably appears to be affected by the research or is in an entity whose financial interest reasonably appears to be affected by the research) and that could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of research. 

Investigator means the project director and any other person, whether faculty, staff, or student and regardless of title or position, who has the authority to make independent decisions related to the design, conduct, or reporting of sponsored research or proposed for such funding.

For purposes of the requirements of this subpart relating to financial interests, "Investigator" includes the Investigator's spouse and dependent children.

Research means a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge relating broadly to science and engineering, including behavioral and social-sciences research. The term encompasses basic and applied research and product development. 

Significant Financial Interest  (as defined by federal regulation) means anything of monetary value or potential monetary value held by an investigator (and the investigator’s spouse and dependent children), and that reasonably appears to be related to the investigator’s institutional responsibilities, as follows:

  1. With regard to any publicly traded entity, remuneration received from the entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure and the value of any equity interest in the entity as of the date of disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000.  For purposes of the definition of Significant Financial Interest, remuneration includes salary and any payment for services not otherwise identified as salary (e.g., consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship), equity interest includes any stock, stock option, or other ownership interest, as determined through reference to public prices or other reasonable measures of fair market value.
  2. With regard to any non-publicly traded entity, the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the calendar year preceding the disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000, or any equity interest (e.g., stock, stock option, or other ownership interest);
  3. Intellectual property rights and interests (e.g., patents, copyrights), upon receipt of income related to such rights and interests.

The term Significant Financial Interest does not include the following types of financial interests:

  • salary or other remuneration paid by the University to the investigator if the investigator is currently employed or otherwise appointed by the University;
  • income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the investigator does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles;
  • income from seminars, lectures, teaching engagements, or travel reimbursed or sponsored by a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, medical center, or research institute affiliated with an institution of higher education; or
  • income from service on advisory committees or review panels for a federal, state, or local government agency or institution of higher education. 

Sponsored Travel means travel related to an investigator’s institutional responsibilities that is paid by a non-LU entity on behalf of the investigator, and not reimbursed to the investigator so that the exact monetary value may not be readily available.

University Official for the purposes of this policy means the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or his/her designee.