Investigator Financial Disclosure

Federal regulations require the University to manage, reduce or eliminate any actual or potential conflicts of interest that may be presented by a financial interest of an investigator in covered federal programs. Thus, the University requires that investigators disclose any significant financial interest that may present an actual or potential conflict of interest in a sponsored project.

Definitions

Investigator means the principal investigator/project director, co-principal investigators, and any person at the University who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research or education activities funded, or proposed for funding, by a covered federal agency.

An actual or potential conflict of interest exists when the reviewers reasonably determine that a significant financial interest could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of research or educational activities funded or proposed for funding.

Significant financial interest means anything of monetary value to the investigator, his or her spouse, or his or her dependent children, including but not limited to:

  • Salary or other payments for services (e.g., consulting fees or honoraria);
  • Equity interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interests);
  • Intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, copyrights, and royalties from such rights).

The term does not include:

  • Salary, royalties, or other remuneration from Hampton University;
  • Income from seminars, lectures, or teaching assignments sponsored by public or non­profit entities;
  • Income from service on advisory committees or review panels for public or non-profit entities;
  • Financial interests in business enterprises or entities if the value of such interests does not exceed $10,000 (or $10,000 per annum if salary, fee or other continuing payments) and if the value does not represent more than a 5% ownership interest for any one enterprise  or entity  when  aggregated  for the Investigator and the Investigator's spouse and dependent children.

Requirements

  1. Each Investigator is required to read this policy.
  2. Each Investigator is required to disclose the following significant financial interests:
    1. Any Significant Financial Interest of the Investigator that would reasonably appear to be directly and significantly affected by the research or educational activities funded, or proposed for funding, by an external sponsor; or
    2. Any Significant Financial Interest of the investigator in any entity whose financial interest would reasonably appear to be directly and significantly affected by the research or educational activities funded, or proposed for funding, by an external sponsor.

Regardless of the above minimum requirements, an Investigator, in his or her own best interest, may choose to disclose any other financial or related interest that could present an actual conflict of interest. Disclosure is a key factor in protecting one's reputation and career from potentially embarrassing or harmful allegations of misconduct.

Procedures

  1. Each Investigator must complete a Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form and attach all required supporting documentation. The completed Disclosure Form must be submitted with the proposal and the Request to Apply for Grant Form to the Office of Governmental Relations after-approvals have been obtained from the Chair/Department Head, Dean and Provost Supporting documentation that identifies the business enterprise or entity involved and the nature and amount of the interest should be submitted in a sealed envelope marked Confidential and accompany the Disclosure Form, Request Form and Proposal.
  2. As required by federal regulations, all Significant Financial Interests must be disclosed prior to the time a proposal is submitted. If a new Significant Interest arises at any time after the submission of the proposal through the entire period of any resulting award, the Investigator must file a new Disclosure Form within 14 days of becoming aware of a potential or actual conflict of interest.
  3. If an Investigator indicates there may be a potential conflict of interest covered by this policy, the Disclosure Packet will be referred to a committee established by Provost (Suggested Title: Financial Disclosure Review Committee). Committee members are appointed for two year periods and recommended by School Deans. The Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations will call the meeting together and serve as a non-voting member. The Investigator whose financial interests are to be discussed will be invited to the meeting, but will not vote. In the event of a tie, the Provost shall make the final decision.
  4. Prior to consideration by the "Financial Disclosure Review Committee", the Investigator must develop and present to the Committee a Resolution Plan that details proposed steps that will be taken to manage, reduce, or eliminate any actual or potential conflict of interest presented by a Significant Financial Interest Disclosure. Examples of conditions or restrictions that might be proposed include:
    • Public disclosure of significant financial interests;
    • Review of research protocol by independent reviewers, and
    • Monitoring of research by independent reviewers.

    The "Financial Disclosure Review Committee" must review the Resolution Plan for approval with several possible outcomes. The Committee may approve the plan, reject the plan, or approve the plan with additional conditions or restrictions, including the following:

    • Modification of the research plan;
    • Disqualification from participation in all or a portion of the research funded;
    • Divestiture of significant financial interests, or
    • Severance of relationships that create actual or potential conflicts of interest.

    Investigators may revise and resubmit rejected Resolution Plans or may appeal the "Committee" decision. The Provost will make the final decision regarding resolution of appeals.

    If the "Committee" determines that imposing the above referenced conditions or restrictions would be ineffective or inequitable, or that the potential negative impacts that may arise from a significant financial interest are outweighed by interests of scientific progress, technology transfer, or the public health and welfare, then the "Committee" may recommend that the research go forward without imposing such conditions or restrictions.

  5. The approved Resolution Plan must detail the conditions of restrictions imposed upon the Investigator in the conduct of the project or in the relationship with business enterprises or entities. The Plan must be signed by the Investigator, the "Committee" Chairperson, and the Provost
  6. Actual or potential conflicts of interest as shown on the Financial Disclosure form must be satisfactorily managed, reduced, or eliminated in accordance with these guidelines prior to accepting any award, or they will be disclosed to the sponsoring agency. The Investigator must therefore notify the Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations in writing once all the conditions of the Resolution Plan have been met.
  7. The Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations will notify the sponsoring agency if a resolution cannot be agreed upon or if a Resolution Plan has not been followed.  
  8. Records of Investigator financial disclosures and of actions taken to manage actual or potential conflicts of interest, must be retained in the Office of Governmental Relations until three years after the latter of the termination/completion of the award to which they relate, or the resolution of any government action involving those records.
  9. Whenever an Investigator has violated this policy or the terms of the Resolution Plan, the "Committee" must recommend sanctions that may include disciplinary action ranging from a public letter of reprimand to dismissal and termination of employment. If the violation results in a collateral proceeding under University policies regarding misconduct in science, the "Committee" must defer a decision on sanctions until the misconduct in science process is completed. The "Committee's" recommendation on sanctions is presented to the Provost who will enforce any disciplinary action.

Effective Date

This policy is effective as of October 1, 1995 and will remain in effect until modified or rescinded. It may also be revised in response to modifications of the applicable federal regulations and guidelines.

Other Regulations

This Financial Disclosure Policy for Federally Funded Projects is unrelated to, and in no way supersedes, the University Conflict of Interest Policy.

Red Flags

When engaging in the grantsmanship process, remember to observe these items as activities that must acquire special approvals from the funding agencies prior to implementing in them.

  • Shipping equipment to a foreign country?
  • Collaborating with foreign colleagues in  foreign countries?
  • Working with a company or individual located in an embargoed country?
  • Training foreign nationals in using equipment?
  • Using another parties’ proprietary information?
  • Sponsor approval rights over publications or foreign national participation?