Institutional Conflict of Interest

In Fall 2014, the Columbia University Senate approved a companion policy to the University’s Policy on Individual Financial Conflict of Interests and Research.  The new policy, entitled the Columbia University Policy on Institutional Conflict of Interest (ICOI) in Research, protects the objectivity of University research from potential conflicts that may result from financial interests held by the University itself or by its officials who have responsibility for research oversight. Such financial interests could include, for example, royalties paid to the University by research sponsors; ownership interests in start-up companies whose products are the subject of University research; or certain large corporate gifts.

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Implementation of the Policy is being administered by the Office of Research Compliance and Training and will be automated in part through the University’s research administration software system, Rascal.  Potential institutional conflicts of interest are reviewed by the University’s Institutional Conflict of Interest Committee, an interdisciplinary faculty committee that also includes non-voting members from Columbia TechVentures and the Office of Alumni & Development.  The Policy provides that “[t]he ICOI Committee and the University should make every attempt to resolve institutional conflicts in a manner that enables research to proceed at the University.  However, if the ICOI Committee finds that an ICOI cannot be managed, and divestment is not feasible, then the affected research should not proceed at the University.”

Anyone with questions about the ICOI Policy should contact the Office of Research Compliance and Training at [email protected]