Research Foundation

Conflict of Interest Policy

Effective Date:

March 15, 2013

Supersedes:

Conflicts of Interest Policy pursuant to 95-5 Resolution and the Procedure of Investigating Conflict of Interest Policy

Policy Review Date:

February 2016

Issuing Authority:

Research Foundation President

Responsible Party:

Chief Compliance Officer

Contact Information:

(518) 434-7145

mailto:%20rfcompliance@rfsuny.org

Reason for Policy

As Research Foundation Board Members, Officers, and Employees, we hold positions of trust and must act in the best interests of the Research Foundation. We must avoid any activity that impairs or would reasonably appear to impair the ability to perform our duties with independence and objectivity. A conflict of interest arises if our personal relationships, activities, or finances interfere, or appear to interfere, with our ability to act in the best interests of the Research Foundation.

Research Foundation Board Members, Officers, and Employees must incorporate, where necessary and possible, the following rules into their services on behalf of the Research Foundation. Research Foundation Officers and Employees must adhere to the standards outlined in the New York State Public Officers Law Section 74. This policy incorporates the key standards outlined in Section 74.

Statement of Policy

Research Foundation Board Members, Officers, and Employees may not have any interest or engage in any outside activity which results in an unmanaged conflict of interest. To this end, Board Members, Officers, and Employees must disclose their interests and outside activities, and those of a Related Party, which may affect their ability to perform their duties with independence and objectivity. A conflict of interest must be managed so the conflict is reduced or eliminated, and compliance with conflict of interest management plans should be monitored where necessary.

Prohibited Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest exists if you or a Related Party has a Financial or Other Interest that will or may reasonably be expected to:

Conflicts of Interest Posed By Outside Employment, Investments, or Other Business Activities

As a Research Foundation Board Member, Officer or Employee, you must not make personal investments in enterprises that you have reason to believe may be directly involved in decisions to be made by you or will otherwise create substantial conflict between your duty on behalf of the Research Foundation and your private interest.

If you or a Related Party has a Financial or Other Interest in any business entity, you may not represent the Research Foundation in any transaction with that entity and must disclose the interest in accordance with this policy and the Procedure for Managing Conflicts of Interest.

Procurement of goods or services by the Research Foundation shall be conducted consistent with the Foundation's established procurement policy.

You may not accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity that will impair the independence of your judgment in the exercise of your duties for the Research Foundation or require you to disclose confidential information that you gained by reason of your affiliation with the Research Foundation.

Prohibition Against Disclosure or Use of Confidential Material for Personal Gain

The Research Foundation prohibits disclosure of information that is confidential to the Research Foundation, acquired by any Board Member, Officer, or Employee in the course of his/her duties, except as required by law or as expressly authorized in writing by an Officer or other designated representative of the Research Foundation.

Board Members, Officers, and Employees may only use such confidential information in furtherance of their duties as a representative of the Research Foundation and shall not use such confidential information to further their personal interests or that of a Related Party.

You must not accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity that will require you to disclose confidential information that you gained by reason of your official position or affiliation with the Research Foundation.

Use of Research Foundation or State Resources

You may not misappropriate the property, services or other resources of the Research Foundation, SUNY, or others, whether for yourself or someone else.

Avoiding the Appearance of Impropriety

Board Members, Officers, and Employees shall not, by their conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence them or unduly enjoy their favor in performance of their duties, or that they are affected by the kinship, rank, position, or influence of any party or person.

You may not use, or attempt to use, your position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for yourself or others.

Similarly, bribery, extortion, and other attempts to exert undue influence are strictly prohibited. The Research Foundation expects Research Foundation Board Members, Officers, and Employees to avoid any conduct that may give the appearance of engaging in acts that are in violation of their trust.

Disclosing a Real, Apparent, or Potential Conflict of Interest

Board Members, Officers, and Employees must disclose all real, apparent, or potential conflicts of interest for review as described below. At an Operating Location, those disclosures should be made to the operations manager or his/her designee in accordance with this policy and the Procedure for Managing Conflicts of Interest. Disclosures are required in three instances:

  1. Annual Disclosures By Research Foundation Board Members, Officers, and Key Employees. Board Members, Officers, and Key Employees must report Direct or Indirect Financial or other Interests that pose or may pose a real, apparent, or potential conflict of interest on an annual basis. These disclosures must be updated both annually and as new reportable interests are obtained or as new reportable activities occur.
  2. Grant-Related Disclosures. Principal investigators must follow the policy at their respective campus locations.
  3. Situational Disclosures. Board Members, Officers, and Employees must report any Direct or Indirect Financial Interest or other activity that may pose a conflict of interest under this policy. Such situational disclosures must be made as soon as practicable after the individual learns of the potential conflict.

When a disclosure is made under this policy, the actual, apparent, or potential conflict of interest will be reviewed pursuant to Procedure for Managing Conflicts of Interest. If a conflict of interest is found to exist, the Research Foundation must take steps to manage, reduce, or eliminate the conflict of interest. Individuals may appeal determinations with which they disagree. Please consult the Procedure for Managing Conflicts of Interest for more information.

Violation

In addition to any penalty contained in any provision of law or federal or state policy, individuals who knowingly and intentionally violate any of these provisions may be subject to action by the Research Foundation. For employees, this may include action under the Research Foundation's progressive discipline policy, including suspension or termination from employment.

Recordkeeping

The operating location operations manager must designate an appropriate office of record and must ensure that records related to the disclosure, review, and management of a potential, apparent, or actual conflict of interest are retained and documented. In addition to any recordkeeping process established by the operations manager, all final determinations or management plans must be included in the personnel file of the individual with potential, apparent, or actual conflict of interest.

At the central office, the chief compliance officer must ensure that records related to the disclosure, review, and management of a potential, apparent, or actual conflict of interest for all disclosures, at the central office or otherwise brought to the attention of the chief compliance officer, are retained and documented. In addition to any recordkeeping process established by the chief compliance officer, all final determinations or management plans must be included in the personnel file of the individual with potential, apparent, or actual conflict of interest.

Campus Policy

An Operating Location may adopt a policy no less restrictive that than this Policy. If a local policy is adopted, then a copy of that policy must be filed with the RF's chief compliance officer.

Staffing Services

Employees employed by the RF under an agreement or contract, other than the 1977 Agreement between the RF and SUNY must adhere to the conflicts of interest policy in place by the entity the employees are employed to support. In the absence of a policy, the conflicts of interest policy effective at the associated operating location must govern.

Responsibilities

The following table outlines the responsibilities for compliance with this policy:

Responsible Party

Responsibility

Board Members, Officers, and Key Employees

Annual Disclosures

Principal Investigators

Grant-Related Disclosures

Employees

Situational Disclosures as needed

Definitions

Board Member: A member of the Research Foundation's board of directors.

Direct or Indirect Financial or Other Interests: Financial or Other Interests held by the Research Foundation Employee or by their spouse, domestic partner, significant other, family member, dependent, member of household, or business partner.

Employee: Officers, Key Employees, and any individual compensated employee of the Research Foundation.

Financial or Other Interests: Shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

Key Employee: A "Key Employee" for purposes of this Policy includes:

  1. Vice presidents;
  2. Operations managers;
  3. Deputy operations managers;
  4. Chief research officers;
  5. Technology transfer directors;
  6. Sponsored program office directors or equivalent;
  7. Other appointed officers
  8. At the central office:
    1. Vice presidents
    2. Senior directors;
    3. Assistant Vice-Presidents; and
    4. Directors;
    5. Other appointed officers; and

    9. Any other persons who have procurement authority equal to or exceeding $100,000 per transaction.

    Officer: An officer elected under the Research Foundation's bylaws, including the Research Foundation's president, general counsel, secretary, and chief financial officer and those appointed pursuant to Article IV Section 13 of the RF's bylaws as appointed officers.

    Operating Location: Research Foundation office located at a SUNY campus location or other SUNY location supporting the Research Foundation mission and SUNY operations overseen by an operations manager.

    Operations Manager: An individual appointed to the position of operations manager by the Research Foundation.

    Principal Investigator: Primary individual(s) in charge of a research grant or other project administered by the Research Foundation. The term "Principal Investigator" includes those individuals serving as co-principal investigators.

    Related Party: A Research Foundation Employee's spouse, domestic partner, significant other, family member, dependent, member of household, or business partner.

    Research Foundation (or Foundation or RF): The Research Foundation for The State University of New York.

Related Information

Management of Conflicts of Interest Procedure

Managing Conflicts of Interest Guidelines

NYS Public Officer's Law Sections 73 & 74

Conflicts of Interest in Public Health Service Sponsored Programs

Nepotism Policy

Gifts to Employees from Non-RF Sources Policy

Forms

Conflict of Interest Annual Disclosure Statement

Conflict of Interest Situational Disclosure Statement

Change History

Date

Summary of Change

December 7, 2012

Clarifies who is required to disclose conflicts, how, and when.Also allows for locations to use their own conflicts of interest policies and procedures, provided the policy is submitted to the compliance office and is no less restrictive than RF policy. Effective 3/15/2013

 

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Copyright 2012 The Research Foundation for The State University of New York