The University has updated its Conflict of Interest in Research policy #2370.005 to comply with revised regulations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service (PHS) effective August 24, 2012. The complete updated policy may be viewed at http://policies.fiu.edu/files/572.pdf.
The updated policy furthers the University’s emphasis on promoting objectivity in research by establishing and maintaining standards that ensure that the design, conduct, and reporting of research are free from bias due to an impermissible conflict of interest. This page provides an overview of the new requirements and processes in light of the updated policy. If you have particular questions about your sponsored project proposal or award, please contact your Pre-Award representative at 305-348-2494 .
Q&As Below Provide an Overview of Required Steps in the Conflict of Interest Process:
|II. Review of Disclosures, Management and Reporting|
|III. Additional Requirements|
|IV. List of Organizations that require compliance with PHS FCOI regulations|
Outside activity/financial interest disclosures are now required from “Investigators” (defined as anyone responsible for the design, conduct or reporting of research, including collaborators, students, etc.). Thus, an “Investigator” is not limited to only FIU employees. It could include non-FIU employees such as subrecipients (i.e., collaborators, subcontractors or consultants). Disclosures from such non-FIU personnel are also required and are addressed in question #4 below.
Another change is that Investigator disclosures are due, not as relates to a particular research project, but rather, as they relate to the Investigator’s “Institutional responsibilities” (i.e., teaching, research, research consultation, professional practice, committee membership, etc.). Research-related disclosures are no longer project-specific.
Each Investigator must report his/her Significant Financial Interests (SFIs) and those of his/her spouse and dependent children. The SFIs that must be reported are delineated in the updated policy and the OA/COI Electronic Portal questions have been revised to capture the required SFI disclosures. Therefore, as long as you answer all questions in the “Research” section of the OA/COI Electronic Portal (check box 1.J on the first page of the Portal), all required disclosures will be captured.
There is a new requirement that Investigators must now disclose the sponsorship of their travel if the travel relates to the Investigator’s Institutional Responsibilities. However, no travel disclosure is required if the travel is paid for by any of the following entities:
The PHS financial conflict of interest regulations (and FIU policy #2370.005) requires disclosures, and University review, of certain outside activities and financial interests of Investigators only. The FIU policy defines an “Investigator” as set forth below, where the pertinent information has been highlighted:
An “Investigator” is “the principal investigator and any other person, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for thedesign, conduct, or reporting of research or of proposed research, which may include, for example, collaborators or consultants. For purposes of this definition:
If a student qualifies as an Investigator under the above definition, then the student must disclose his/her outside activities and financial interests on the Division of Human Resources webpage called “Report of Outside Activity/Conflict of Interest” at http://hr.fiu.edu/index.php?name=conflict_of_interest, using the paper form on that page. The disclosures will be reviewed by DOR as detailed in Policy #2370/005.
If a student does not qualify as a Investigator (for example, a student is merely collecting and/or analyzing data at the direction of the PI and is not reporting designing or reporting the research as defined above, then no outside activity/financial interest disclosure or review is required.
Please note that the NIH has provided the FAQ on this issue (at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coi/coi_faqs.htm#3172):
"I am a graduate student working on research funded by the NIH. Am I subject to the requirements of the Financial Conflict of Interest regulation? (Investigator)
Yes. If you meet the definition of an “Investigator,” the PHS regulation applies to you. As stated above, the term "Investigator" is defined to encompass individuals "responsible for the design, conduct or reporting" of research funded by the NIH. Be sure to confirm with your Institutional designated official(s) whether you, as a graduate student, meet this definition.”
Investigators on PHS-funded projects must now complete financial conflict of interest training before a PHS project begins and at least every 4 years thereafter or earlier, if the Investigator fails to comply with FIU’s Conflict of Interest in Research policy or with a management plan or the FIU policy requirements change.
Click here to access information about Conflict of Interest online training.
In addition to the Conflict of Interest in Research policy, the University has conflict of interest policies unrelated to research that apply to all faculty and staff members. All employees of Florida International University are subject to the Florida Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees which is found in Part III, Chapter 112, Florida Statutes. The OA/COI Electronic Portal captures both research and non-research related disclosures.
This list is updated on a periodic basis. Additional sponsors that are not listed here may also require adherence to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service Financial Conflict of Interest regulations, as specified in their Award Terms and Conditions.
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