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Conflicts of Interest

University scientists are encouraged to share their expertise with industry through consulting, speaking, or other arrangements; to collaborate with industry in product development; and to form their own companies.

This emphasis on encouraging academic scientists to work with industry has been an unparalleled success in speeding discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. However, the broader opportunity and role for the academic community has also led to challenges. Such academic-industry collaboration should never compromise the safety of people volunteering to participate in biomedical research or scientific integrity.

To address these issues, universities must develop and implement policies that enable them to review and manage the relationships between faculty members' institutional responsibilities and their outside, industry-related activities. Universities and faculty must never act in ways that compromise the public’s trust.



AAU joined COGR and APLU to provide comments on a proposed policy from NASA, which would update the terms and conditions of grants funded to include new requirements related to disclosure of conflict of interest and conflict of commitment.
AAU submitted comments in response to the NSTC Joint Committee on the Research Environment’s recent request for information seeking input that the administration can use to “maximize the quality and effectiveness of the American research environment.
AAU and other organizations sent a letter to representatives Pocan, Deutch, DelBene, Speier, Raskin, Nadler, DeGette, Lee, Lofgren, and Khanna to express their support for their amendment to H.R. 2740
AAU, AAMC, APLU, and COGR sent a joint letter to the Office for Human Resources Protection (OHRP) expressing concern about the application of the cooperative research requirement under the revised Common Rule.
On May 21, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) requested public comments on proposed revisions to the Public Health Services Conflict of Interest (COI) policy. In the responses DHHS received to its request for comment, several organizations expressed concerns that the newly proposed policy might have an chilling effect on faculty members interest in engaging with industry and, as a result, hinder universities ability to commercialize the results of NIH sponsored research. This AAU documents summarizes comments made by various organizations -- including scientific societies, associations, individual universities and companies -- that raise this concern.
The amendments proposed by the PHS are significant and will alter the relationship between a research institution, its investigators, and the PHS.
The public has every right to expect objectivity in research, and accountability regarding the management of potential financial conflicts of interest in research.
A principled partnership between the academic community and industry is essential if we are to realize the promise of biomedical research, but such collaboration can also create serious conflicts of interest.
"Protecting Patients, Preserving Integrity, Advancing Health: Accelerating the Implementation of COI Policies in Human Subjects Research"
Recent responses to the newly implemented reporting and divestiture requirements suggest that they are harming NIH’s capacity to attract and retain such highly-qualified individuals.