To ensure compliance with the National Science Foundation Cooperative Agreement and other sponsors' agreements, UCAR has adopted the following procedures for the Investigator Financial Disclosure Policy.
Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI): means a Significant Financial Interest (SFI) that could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of funded research or educational activities.
Investigator: means a project director or principal investigator and any other person, regardless of title or position, responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of funded research or educational activities (and may include collaborators or consultants).
Significant Financial Interest (SFI): means anything of monetary value held by the Investigator (and/or Investigator's spouse and dependent children) that reasonably appears to be related to the Investigator’s professional responsibilities to the funding sponsor, including but not limited to salary or other payments (e.g., consulting fees, honoraria, or other remuneration); equity interests(e.g., stocks, stock options, or other ownership interests); intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, copyrights, and royalties from such rights), personal reimbursed travel, and certain non-exempt sponsored travel (that does not appear in paragraph 4 of the list below), and gifts over One Thousand ($1,000) dollars.
The term “Significant Financial Interest” does not include the following, even if related to the Investigator’s responsibilities to the funding sponsor:
- salary, royalties, or other remuneration from UCAR;
- income from seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education (as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a)), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education;
- income from service on advisory committees or review panels for a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education (as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a)), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education;
- travel reimbursed or sponsored by a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education;
- an equity interest that, when aggregated for the Investigator and Investigator's spouse and dependent children, meets all of the following tests: (1) does not exceed Five Thousand ($5,000) dollars in value as determined through reference to public prices or other reasonable measures of fair market value; and (2) is not an equity interest of any value in a non-publicly traded entity;
- income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the Investigator does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles;
- salary, royalties or other payments that, when aggregated for the Investigator and the Investigator's spouse and dependent children, are not expected to exceed Five Thousand ($5,000) dollars during a twelve month period, excluding salary, royalties, and other remuneration specified in a above.
Reviewer: means the UCAR employee with authority to review disclosed SFI and determine whether such disclosures amount to FCOI under applicable regulations. Depending upon the program in which the Investigator is employed (and except in those instances when the disclosing Investigator is a Lab or Program Director), the Reviewer shall be either the NCAR Lab Director or the UCAR/UCP Program Director. In those instances in which the disclosing Investigator is the NCAR Lab Director or the UCAR/UCP Program Director, the Reviewer shall be the next higher level of authority.
In the case of proposals and/or awards involving Investigators from two or more labs or programs, the Vice President for Finance and Administration (VP F&A) along with the relevant NCAR Lab Director or UCAR/UCP Program Director will jointly determine whether or not an FCOI exists and how it will be managed, reduced, or eliminated.
Investigator’s Disclosure Requirements: Investigators must complete an SFI Disclosure Form and submit the form in accordance with the following table.
Submission Requirements for Completed SFI Disclosure Forms
First form submission
For NSF or PHS requests for funding (both direct and pass-through)
Prior to proposal submission, submit form to NCAR or UCP Budget Office
For other federally-funded awards (both direct and pass-through)
Prior to award acceptance, submit form to Contracts
For non-federal awards
Submit form as instructed by Contracts, at the stage required by sponsor
Subsequent form submissions
For all federally-funded awards
After award acceptance, submit form to Contracts annually
For all federally-funded awards
After award acceptance, submit form to Contracts within 30 days after a new SFI is acquired
For non-federal awards
Submit form as instructed by Contracts, at the stage required by sponsor
The Investigator shall use the form to disclose all SFIs (including qualifying interests of the Investigator's spouse and dependent children): (i) that would reasonably appear to be affected by the funded research or educational activities; or (ii) in entities whose financial interests would reasonably appear to be affected by such activities.
Unless disclosure is required by law or regulation, the Investigator’s SFI information will be treated as confidential and will be used by UCAR only to conduct its conflict of interest review and reporting.
Disclosure Review and Management:
If the Investigator has no SFI, as indicated on the SFI Disclosure Form, then Contracts can proceed to finalize the award.
If the Investigator has a SFI (as indicated on the SFI Disclosure Form), then a copy of the SFI Disclosure Form will be forwarded by Contracts to the appropriate Reviewer, who will determine whether any disclosed SFI amounts to an FCOI under applicable regulations. In order to make the determination, the Reviewer will use the Reviewer Guidelines set forth at the end of these Procedures and/or may seek input from the VP F&A, the Office of General Counsel (OGC), and/or the Investigator to make his/her determination.
If the Reviewer determines that no FCOI exists, then the SFI Disclosure Form will be signed by the Reviewer and returned to Contracts. Once the signed form is received by Contracts, then Contracts can proceed to finalize the award.
If the Reviewer determines that an FCOI exists, then the Reviewer is responsible for developing a plan, acceptable to both the Investigator and UCAR, to manage, reduce, or eliminate the FCOI. The Reviewer will provide the management plan to the appropriate member of the President’s Council for review and approval. Once the approved form and related plan are received, Contracts can proceed to finalize the award per the sponsor’s requirements. With respect to FCOI that arise during an active grant, cooperative agreement, or contract, the related management plan must be developed and implemented within sixty (60) days following the disclosure.
Examples of conditions or restrictions that the Reviewer may choose to include in the plan to manage, reduce, or eliminate conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to:
1. providing the public access, upon request, to information regarding SFI;
2. for research projects involving human subjects research, disclosure of financial conflicts of interest directly to participants;
3. monitoring of research by independent reviewers;
4. modification of the research plan;
5. change of personnel or personnel responsibilities, or disqualification from participation in the portion of the funded research that would be affected by SFI;
6. reduction or elimination of the Financial Interests (so that it is no longer Significant); or
7. severance of relationships that create conflicts.
Compliance Monitoring: The Reviewer shall monitor Investigator compliance with any related management plan on an ongoing basis.
Enforcement: False reporting will be handled in accordance with the UCAR policies on Research Misconduct Ethical Conduct and Anti-Fraud. If UCAR identifies a SFI that was not disclosed timely by an Investigator or, for whatever reason, was not previously reviewed by UCAR, then, the relevant Investigator may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Further action may also be taken on the federal level.
Investigator Appeals: The Investigator may appeal a Reviewer’s decision to the appropriate member of the President's Council. Within fourteen (14) days of receipt of a written appeal, the President's Council member will endorse, reverse, or modify the decision and communicate that action to the Investigator and Reviewer.
Public Disclosure: Contracts is required to disclose “to any requester” FCOI information related to PHS-funded efforts.
Record Retention: Contracts and applicable UCAR Reviewers will maintain records of all financial disclosures and of their actions taken to review, respond to, resolve, and report conflicts of interest for three (3) years from the date that the final expenditure report has been submitted to the sponsor, or until the resolution of any sponsor action involving those records, whichever is longer.
Sponsor Reporting: In accordance with applicable sponsor requirements and federal regulations, Contracts will report FCOI and any other required information, prior to the expenditure of funds on grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts and within sixty (60) days following the subsequent identification of any SFI that amounts to an FCOI. Additionally, Contracts will disclose the FCOI and any related management plan provisions to the extent required by applicable law.
For More Information: For more information regarding disclosure and reporting, see the following websites:
- The Investigator Financial Disclosure Policy, issued by the National Science Foundation http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/stis1996/iin117/iin117.txt;
- Regulations at 42 CFR Part 50 and 45 CFR Part 94, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coi/
PHS Funded Awards
Retrospective Review Following Discovery of Noncompliance with Public Health Service (PHS) Disclosure Regulations
Public Health Service (PHS) regulations require UCAR to mitigate impact and conduct a retrospective review when it discovers that SFI has not been timely and accurately reported. Within thirty (30) days of discovering an inaccurate disclosure, the Disclosure Review and Management process outlined above must be followed. If any FCOI is identified, a management plan must be implemented within sixty (60) days of discovery. In addition, whenever UCAR discovers that a FCOI related to a PHS-funded project was not identified or managed in a timely manner for any reason, including: (i) failure by the Investigator to disclose a SFI that is determined to constitute a FCOI; (ii) failure by UCAR to review or manage such a FCOI; or (iii) failure by the Investigator to comply with a FCOI management plan, the Reviewer (who may seek input from the VP F&A, the OGC and/or the Investigator) shall, within 120 days of the determination of noncompliance, complete a retrospective review of the Investigator's activities and the PHS-funded research project to determine whether any portion of the PHS-funded research, conducted during the time period of the noncompliance, was biased in the design, conduct, or reporting of such research.
The Reviewer will document the retrospective review. Such documentation shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, all of the following key elements:
(1) Project number;
(2) Project title;
(3) Principal Investigator;
(4) Name of the Investigator with the FCOI;
(5) Name of the entity with which the Investigator has a FCOI;
(6) Reason(s) for the retrospective review;
(7) Detailed methodology used for the retrospective review (e.g., methodology of the review process, composition of the review panel, documents reviewed);
(8) Findings of the review; and
(9) Conclusions of the review.
If bias is found, the Reviewer will complete a mitigation report. The mitigation report must include, at a minimum, the key elements documented in the retrospective review above and a description of the impact of the bias on the research project and UCAR's plan of action or actions taken to eliminate or mitigate the effect of the bias (e.g., impact on the research project; extent of harm done, including any qualitative and quantitative data to support any actual or future harm; analysis of whether the research project is salvageable).
In creating the mitigation report, Reviewer may follow the same procedures as outlined herein for FCOI management plans.
Based on the results of the retrospective review, if appropriate, Contracts will update any FCOI report previously submitted to the sponsor. If bias is found, Contracts must promptly notify the PHS awarding agency and submit the mitigation report.