University Research Council

March 25, 2010

Meeting Summary

Conflicts of Interest

Jerome L. Rosenberg, Chair of the Conflict of Interest Committee, addressed the Council.  Conflicts of interest – especially those of a financial nature – can threaten the integrity of a university’s research, scholarship, instruction, evaluation, and administrative functions.  To ensure that its reputation and research programs are not compromised by even an appearance of inattention to this matter, the University of Pittsburgh has established policies – consistent with federal guidelines – that require the reporting and management of the potential conflicts of interest of its faculty and investigators (as well as administrators and staff).

All researchers are required to make periodic disclosures, at least annually, of outside remunerative activities related to their University responsibilities.  They must disclose ownership of equity; positions of management; remunerative services, such as consulting and speaking; intellectual property (IP), such as patents or copyrights; and royalties, actual or potential, from licensed IP.  Examples of potential conflicts of interest include:

  • Research in an area of present or potential financial interest
  • Employing students in an entity in which the faculty member has a financial interest
  • Required use of instructor’s own textbook
  • Conflict of commitment
  • Personal use of University resources in performing outside activities

Additional information is available on the Conflict of Interest Office’s website: