A. Definition of Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest (CoI) occurs when an individual has multiple financial, personal or professional interests or is involved in multiple activities, one of which could compromise, or have the appearance of compromising, the motivation for an act in another. This definition is based on perception or potential for conflict, rather than requiring proof that an improper action or decision has been made. This focus on avoidance of CoI is important for maintaining collegial and public trust, particularly when difficult leadership and/or research decisions are made. Additional information on conflicts of interest on academic and research projects can be found here:
B. Application of Conflict of Interest Policy
All persons providing scientific, technical, or administrative review of materials that could lead to a funding or participation decision must disclose an existing CoI. In the context of proposal review, a CoI may include (but is not limited to): being employed by the same institution, having a history of student/postdoctoral-advisor relationship, having a long-term professional relationship with a PI or Co-PI, having had a close personal or family relationship, and being a recent (within three years) co-author on a publication or a co-PI on a recent proposal.
Decision makers who have a CoI with a proposal under review may not be part of conversations in which that proposal is evaluated or discussed. If proposals are to be ranked, a decision maker with a CoI will not be permitted to rank a conflicted proposal. In some cases, this might require delegation of decision authority to alternative members of the COBRA Executive Committee.