Posted January 27, 2010 Atlanta, GA
Anita McKinney, Administration and Contract Support, Office of Sponsored Programs
Every state employee is required to fill out COI form
In accordance with Georgia law, all state employees must complete a conflict of interest disclosure each calendar year. In past years, Georgia Tech has issued a paper form for faculty and staff to sign. In 2009, Georgia Tech implemented an online COI disclosure system. Employee participation is required to be 100 percent, so the online system has been re-opened for the submission of annual disclosures. The forms for 2009 must be completed by March 15, according to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).
While researchers are required to fill out project-specific conflicts of interest disclosures, every state employee is required to complete the annual form. Even if there is nothing to disclose, each Georgia Tech faculty and staff member is required to complete the form, according to OSP eCommerce Officer Michelle Powell.
From the policy, a conflict of interest is defined as follows:
- It reasonably appears that a significant financial interest could affect the design, conduct, or reporting of activities funded or proposed for funding by a sponsor.
- The personal interest of an employee or his or her family may prevent or appear to prevent the employee from making an unbiased decision with respect to the Employee’s employment with the Institute.
“People think that if they’re not involved in research, they don’t have to complete a disclosure,” Powell said. “That’s OK—you don’t have to be [involved in research]. Even for those with nothing to disclose, everyone still must complete the annual disclosure. Basically, [the disclosure] is telling the Institute that employees are aware that any conflict must be disclosed.”
Both annual and project-specific disclosures are located on the Office of Research Compliance Web site. The annual disclosure consists of four questions, and takes anywhere from two to 10 minutes to complete.