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Why does Indiana University have the Policy and Procedures to address Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research?

The Indiana University Policies and Procedures have their origins in the conflicts of interest regulations of two federal agencies that provide a significant portion of the University’s sponsored research funding, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. In 1995, the NIH and NSF issued regulations providing for the disclosure and review of certain outside financial interests held by persons responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of agency-funded research, and the resolution of any financial conflicts of interest posed by those outside interests. The NIH revised their regulations in 2011 which resulted in significant changes to the Indiana University Policies and Procedures in order to comply with the NIH changes.

In 2000, the Board of Trustees passed a new policy that covered all University research regardless of funding source and all externally sponsored programs, whether or not the program entails research. The 2000 Policy was superseded in 2005 by the Policy of Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research which was amended in 2012. Accordingly, all University researchers are required to make annual disclosures of significant financial interests that reasonably relate to their University Responsibilities (“IU Financial Conflicts Disclosure”).

At the heart of the concept of financial conflicts of interest is the concern that outside significant financial interests may cause someone to perform their University Responsibilities, or use University resources, in a manner that serves their outside interest, but does not serve the best interests of the University. The University assumes that all IU faculty and staff will perform their University Responsibilities with the highest degree of ethics; we recognize, however, that sponsors of faculty research, state legislators, the press, and other members of the public may suspect the integrity of IU’s operations when employees involved in those operations have outside financial interests that could be substantially affected by what they do within IU. The Board of Trustees has adopted this policy to identify and resolve financial conflicts of interest and to ensure public confidence in the integrity of IU’s research.

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