Conflict of Interest Process

The following steps are provided to assist employees with an overview of the Conflict of Interest Process.

Step 1: File a Disclosure

All disclosures of outside activities, financial interests or other conflicts of interest shall be done via the Division of Human Resources’ Report of Outside Activity / Conflict of Interest Electronic Reporting System.  If you would like information on what disclosure obligations are consistent with the State of Florida and Federal Law requirements or assistance with the online portal, please click here.  Furthermore, additional guidance on the disclosure process, please click here.

Complete the Outside Activity Report (OAR) on the HR electronic portal and explain the employee’s (or his/her spouse’s or dependent children’s) interest in the business entity (e.g., start-up company).  All questions, including the research questions in Section J of the OAR must be completed.  Once completed, the OAR will proceed to the various approvers for the University, including to ORED for review as relates to research/intellectual property.

Step 2: Complete the CITI Online COI Training Course

FIU utilizes the CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) program for providing access to an online COI (Conflict of Interest) training course. The online training course covers the following four modules:

  • Financial Conflicts of Interest: Overview, Investigator Responsibilities, and COI Rules
  • Institutional Responsibilities as They Affect Investigators
  • Institution-Specific Policies
  • Conflicts of Commitment, Conscience, and Institutional Conflicts of Interest

Instructions to access CITI Online COI Training

Step 3: Determine if you need a Monitoring Plan

Florida Law Requirements

Florida Law requirements pertaining to contracts with an employee’s entity Pursuant to Florida law, FIU is generally prohibited from entering into an agreement with an entity in which a FIU employee or his/her spouse and/or dependent children has an interest. However, Florida law provides a limited exemption which allows for such contracts when they are for the purpose of commercializing FIU IP or for the performance of research and an approved monitoring plan has been instituted to manage conflicts of interest.

Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) Procedure # 2370.005(a), Ethics in Purchasing for Research and Intellectual Property Contracts under Florida Law.

For example, if an FIU employee wishes FIU to enter into a research agreement with the employee’s start-up company so that research may be done at FIU for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) project funded to the employee’s start-up company, a monitoring plan must be in place before such research agreement may be executed. Similarly, a monitoring plan is a pre-requisite to FIU entering into a license agreement with the employee’s start-up for the commercialization of FIU IP.

Federal Law Requirements

Federal Law requirements pertaining to conflicts in research a monitoring plan is also required by Federal regulations if a FIU employee has a manageable conflict of interest that could affect research funded by the PHS or NSF.

ORED Conflict of Interest in Research Policy #2370.005.

Step 4: File a Monitoring Plan & Exemption Disclosure Form*

What is a monitoring plan?

A monitoring plan (sometimes referred to as a “management plan”) is a document that sets forth the conditions to manage conflicts of interest so that the research or contract may proceed. The Exemption Disclosure Form is only required if the employee seeks to have FIU enter into a contract.

Implementing a Monitoring Plan

Step 5: Monitoring Plan Process

  • Admin Review: The completed Monitoring Plan and the Exemption Request, if applicable, will be reviewed by the Office of Research Integrity to ensure that all required information is provided.
  • Monitors Review: The Monitors (Employee’s Chair or Supervisor, Employee’s Dean or Center Director, and a Representative from ORED) will review the Monitoring Plan and the Exemption Request, if applicable, prior to the meeting.
  • COI Meeting: The Monitors will meet to determine if the conflict may be managed and if so, shall recommend the conditions to be included in the Monitoring Plan to manage the conflict.
  • First Level Approval: The approved Monitoring Plan and the Exemption Request (if applicable) will be sent to the Vice President for Research for his review and approval.
  • Office of General Counsel (OGC) Review: Once the Exemption Request has been signed, the ORED attorney will forward it along with the Monitoring Plan for OGC review.
  • Second Level Approval: If found acceptable, the OGC shall forward the documents to the FIU President or his designee for review and if approved, signature.
  • Third Level Approval: If the Exemption Request is approved by the FIU President or his designee, the OGC shall forward the Exemption Request and the Monitoring Plan to the Chair of the FIU Board of Trustees for review and if approved, signature.