Conflict of Interest

Simply put, a conflict of interest (COI) occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly influence the motivation for an act in the other.

For more information on potential conflicts of interest, see the Office of Research Compliance’s Conflict of Interest section of this website.

Faculty with questions about the COI policy and workings of the COI committee should contact Jen Donais, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research & Engagement by calling 545-5283 or via email at jadonais@research.umass.edu.

If after consultation with the Office of Research Compliance it is determined that a potential COI exists, be sure to check "Yes" to COI on the Internal Processing Form and alert your OPAS administrator when submitting a proposal for external support.

Perceived "Nepotism"

Direct supervision of relatives, including spouses, must be fully justified and explicitly approved by the Chancellor. Payroll will not process appointments without prior approval.

A letter addressed to the Chancellor requesting approval should be generated which includes an outline of the proposed arrangement and clearly discloses and justifies any familial relationships associated with the request, as well as other supporting information. Before the letter is submitted to the Chancellor, the signatures of the Department Chair and Dean, indicating their support should be obtained. A completed Ethics Commission conflict of interest disclosure form must accompany the letter. The form may be obtained on the Massachusetts.gov website.

Proposals may be sent prior to Chancellor’s Office approval, but an award will only be processed when OPAS has received written approval from the Chancellor’s Office. PI must coordinate matters of nepotism or conflict of interest.