COI Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Conflict of Interest?  

A conflict of interest is a situation in which a “Significant Financial Interest” may directly and significantly affect:

  • A Researcher’s professional judgment in exercising any UTSA duty or responsibility or
  • The design, conduct, or reporting of research or sponsored activities.

A financial or other interest in an entity external to UTSA (i.e., a Significant Financial Interest; SFI) may not be a conflict of interest. It depends on the actual or perceived influence the SFI has on your judgment as a UTSA employee or affiliate.

Examples of Conflicts of Interest

  • Diverting research opportunities from the university to a consulting entity or business in which the faculty/researcher has a financial interest.
  • Research conducted whereby any of the involved investigators (or a related person: spouse/domestic partner, dependent children/step-children and any other persons with whom you are financially interdependent) has employment or consulting arrangements and significant financial interests in the sponsor, or with subcontractors, vendors, or collaborators.
  • Use of university resources to conduct research or programs that are sponsored by an entity in which the faculty member/researcher or related person has a significant financial interest or could financially benefit.
  • Serving as a consultant for an external for-profit entity which sponsors the faculty member’s/researcher’s research/program or provides gift funds for the researcher or his/her department.
  • Hiring university students in consulting activities or a company in which the faculty member/researcher has financial interests. If the student’s thesis/dissertation research is supervised by the faculty member, the conflict of interest situation may not be manageable.
  • Equity (ownership) interest of the faculty member (or a related person) in a sponsor.
  • Serving as president or CEO, or holding any other position that requires involvement in the day-to-day operations of a for-profit sponsor. Such a situation often creates a significant conflict of commitment, which must be reduced in order to be manageable.
  • Failure of the faculty member/researcher to fulfill university responsibilities (e.g., holding classes, advising students, conducting research, serving on departmental or university committees, supervising students in research lab), due to involvement in external activities.
  • While acting in the context of his/her university duties, making professional referrals to or purchasing materials or services from a business in which an academic staff member or related person has a financial interest.
  • Conducting clinical trials on a drug or device developed by the faculty member/researcher may be manageable if the research DOES NOT involve human research subjects.
  • Gifts to the university, of cash or property, which will be under the control, or will directly support the teaching or research activities of a faculty member from an entity in which that faculty member (or related person) has an employment or consulting arrangement and/or significant financial interests.
  • Serving on the board of directors or major advisory committee of an external for-profit entity which sponsors the faculty member’s/researcher’s research/pro


What is Conflict of Commitment?  
What is Significant Financial Interest (SFI) ?  
What happens if I disclose an SFI  
What are examples of items I need to disclose?  
What are some examples of items I can EXCLUDE from my disclosure?  
How is Research defined?  
Why must financial interests be disclosed?  
Who must disclose financial interests?  
When must financial interests be disclosed?  
How do I file or update a Disclosure form?  
What happens if CCOI recommends that a COI exist?  
If I disclose once, do I have to disclose again?  
Do I need to file a new disclosure annually, even if it is unchanged?  
Do I need to file a new disclosure every time I start a new research, or sponsored, project?  
I have recieved a new grant and need to get started immediately. Do I need to file a new disclosure to gain access to the grant account?  
What happens if I don't disclose?  
What happens to my disclosure when I submit?  
What happened to researchers who did not disclose?  
What are some activities that may require management?  
Who can I contact if I have a question?