Asian University for Women (AUW): the first regional, liberal arts institution in South Asia

Avoiding Conflict of Interest

  • Note: The Researcher includes:

    •  Principles investigator(s) of any study
    •  Instructors applying for approval to conduct class activities ERC approval

    Avoiding conflict of interest is part of promoting unbiased research that promotes public trust in AUW’s research and activities so that these activities are not compromised or perceived to be compromised by considerations of personal gain or financial benefit.  In research at AUW, the term conflict of interest refers especially to situations in which the professional judgment of an investigator in the design conduct or reporting of research could be influenced or biased by the financial interest or other personal consideration.  This bias could affect collection, analysis and interpretation of data, hiring of staff, procurement of materials, sharing of results, choice of protocol, and/or the use of statistical analyses.  More importantly, it could put human participants at risk of harm or inconvenience or result in unnecessary usage, suffering, and injury of any experimental animals.  An investigator will be deemed to have a conflict of interest if the investigator has significant financial interest or responsibilities in organizations that are related in any way to the research being proposed.  Although conflict of interest should be avoided or minimized, it cannot always be eliminated, so it must be closely disclosed for each aspect of the proposed work, and efforts must be taken to nullify or mitigate the conflicts.  When disclosure by investigators or newly hired research staff is not enough, every step of the research process should include oversight strategies such as isolating the conflicted individual(s) from all the decision-making functions.

    The following is a partial list of actions or activities that require disclosure because they could heighten the risk or create conflict of interest or its appearance, which will then need managing or elimination:

    1. Consulting activities
    2. The purchase of goods or services from a commercial entity in which the investigator has significant financial interest or possibility of benefit
    3. Receipt of significant compensation for a position in a company or holding significant equity in a company if that company operated in the field of research of the investigator
    4. Receipt of gifts, loans, gratuities or special favors from any entity associated with the research
    5. Trips or speakers’ fees from research sponsors, vendors doing business with the university or seeking to do so
    6. Membership on committees, boards, or advisory groups of government, for-profit, or not-for-profit entities that have any relevance to the proposed research

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