Internal Funding Initiative (IFI) Reviewer Conflict of Interest Guidelines

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Note: Conflict of interest guidelines have been revised to allow more researchers at the University to assist with the review of internal funding initiatives. Importantly, an applicant’s departmental colleagues are no longer automatically ineligible to review the proposal.

In order to guide those serving as members of review committees, the University Research Council has adopted the statement below regarding conflicts of interest and the preservation of confidentiality.
 
Reviewers must avoid not only conflicts of interest, but also the appearance of such conflicts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following reviewer/applicant relationships:
 
  • Principal investigator or co-investigator was a student of the reviewer within the last 5 years.
  • Principal investigator or co-investigator is a close relative of the reviewer.
  • Principal investigator or co-investigator has co-authored work or served as consultant to the reviewer within the last 3 years.
  • Principal investigator or co-investigator is someone with whom the reviewer has a known disagreement.
 
Reviewers with a conflict of interest/apparent conflict of interest are obligated to notify the committee chair of such conflict before the review and must excuse themselves from the room until the conclusion of the review of the applicant's proposal. When in doubt about a possible conflict, the reviewer should discuss the circumstances with the committee chair in order to arrive at a determination. If the applicant's proposal is discussed further at a later point in the meeting, reviewers with conflicting interests may not communicate with fellow committee members regarding the applicant or the application and, at the discretion of the chair and/or the reviewer, may be excused from the room again.
 
Applicants may not serve as a member of review committee if s/he has an application under review. 
 

A Note on Confidentiality:

All materials furnished for review purposes, discussions held during the meetings, and materials generated during meetings are considered privileged information. The contents of all materials and the contents and outcome of all discussions in any way related to applications and/or applicants may not be disclosed nor exploited by reviewers.