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Overview of Conflict of Interest and/or Commitment

Stony Brook University is committed to the principles of academic freedom, free inquiry, and the open exchange of knowledge. These principles are the bedrock of scholarship and research. The University supports and encourages individuals to pursue and engage in external activities that promote the University's mission, contribute to professional fields, and enhance professional skills. In return, individuals are expected to fulfill their University obligations first and foremost, commensurate with their appointment requirements.

Campus Policy 

Disclosure of External Interests and Commitments - P209

Disclosure Obligations 

Individuals  have an obligation to avoid conflicts of interest and commitment  when carrying out their external and University education, research, scholarship, or service responsibilities. All external relationships - both domestic and international - should be transparent and must be disclosed in a manner that is consistent with applicable requirements, including federal and state laws/regulations/agency guidance, as well as Stony Brook's own policies and procedures. Such disclosures must include activities that occur over summer/winter break months. 

What Needs to be Disclosed

The following disclosure process pertains to any external organizations or individuals with whom you have a relationship outside of SBU. External organizations include but are not limited to companies, service providers, non-government organizations (NGOs), foundations, institutions of higher education, academic medical centers, research laboratories/centers/institutions, competitors, non-competitors, collaborators, foreign governments (which includes local, provincial, or equivalent governments), and any other for-profit or not-for-profit entities. You must disclose   all  relationships with external organizations,   whether located in the U.S. or outside of the U.S., including: current relationships, relationships that occurred during the previous 12 months, and any anticipated relationships within this calendar year.

External Commitment Section

External Paid Employment - You are required to disclose the following:

  • Your external paid employment. For clarity, this includes affiliations or appointments, with foreign entities or governments regardless of whether described as full-time, part-time, honorary, voluntary or adjunct, as well as any relationship with a foreign talent recruitment program*.
  • Your spouse or domestic or civil union partner’s external paid employment when their employer does business with SBU and your spouse or domestic or civil union partner holds a position that makes significant business decisions on behalf of that employer.

External Unpaid Positions/Obligations - You are required to disclose any unpaid positions/obligations that are held by you or your spouse or domestic or civil union partner. Examples are officer, trustee, board member, director, consultant, advisor, visiting/affiliated faculty (whether full-time, part-time, adjunct, honorary or voluntary), or scientific advisor for a for profit or not-for-profit entity, whether domestic or foreign. For clarity, this includes affiliations or appointments with foreign entities or governments, inclusive of foreign talent recruitment programs*.

External Resources/Support - You are required to disclose any resources, whether paid on your behalf or provided to you at no cost, for any laboratory/office space, staff or equipment/materials that are not administered by or provided by the Research Foundation, Stony Brook Foundation or State University of New York. This includes space, staff and equipment/materials at or from non-Stony Brook locations both domestic and foreign, as well as any post-docs, students, or visiting scholars to your lab who are supported by funding from a foreign government or institution. For clarity this includes external resources provided as part of participation in a foreign talent recruitment program*.

Note: *A "foreign talent recruitment program" is a program sponsored by, or benefit offered (whether in the form of remuneration or in-kind support) by a foreign researcher, foreign government, foreign institution, or foreign government-controlled entity for the purpose of facilitating the transfer or acquisition of expertise, technical know-how, research results/data/designs, or technology. These programs may involve entering into a contract with a foreign institution or entity and may be accompanied by an honorary, adjunct, or temporary appointment.

External Financial Section

For the purposes of completing the financial disclosure section, "you" includes yourself and your immediate family members. The term "immediate family member" includes your spouse, domestic or civil union partner, and dependent children.

Payments or Remuneration - The following is a non-exclusive list of payments that you must disclose:

  • Payments, regardless of value, from all sources, other than the Research Foundation, Stony Brook University or Stony Brook Foundation, whether or not you received an IRS Form 1099, W-2, or K-1, except as noted in the Exclusions below.
  • Any payment or promise of payment of any kind to you, either in currency or in-kind, for any purpose, whether or not you believe the purpose or the payment is related to your employment at SBU, except as noted in Exclusions below.
  • Payments or promises of payment from an organization that has licensed or has options to license any intellectual property (patents, inventions, copyrights, trademarks) either directly or through any other entity (including the State University of New York and the Research Foundation for SUNY), where such intellectual property was developed by you.
  • Any payments made to an organization on your behalf. For example, if you are part of an organized consulting group that receives payment for your work, that consulting group and the companies/organizations that paid you through the consulting group are to be disclosed.
  • Payments from any corporate sponsor that pass through an intermediary should be attributed to the corporate sponsor. For example, a pharmaceutical company hires a public relations firm to arrange seminars in support of the pharmaceutical company's product. You speak at a seminar and receive compensation. The payment should be attributed to the pharmaceutical company regardless of which company's name appears on the check you receive or anticipate receiving.

Equity holdings or ownership - You are required to disclose any shares of stock you own, including options, warrants, or promises of such, etc, whether the company is privately or publicly held. The following is a non-exclusive list of ownership or equity holdings that you must disclose:

  • Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, or other companies/organizations related to research conducted on the campus and/or with Research Foundation, Stony Brook University or Stony Brook Foundation funds.
  • Start-up companies
  • Companies/organizations that provide any tangible items to this institution, including equipment, office, medical or computer supplies, furniture, etc, regardless of cost.
  • Companies/organizations that provide services or other intangibles to this institution, including but not limited to medical services, housekeeping, laundry, landscaping, information technology, consulting, accounting, etc, regardless of cost.

Sponsored Travel - You are required to disclose the occurrence of any "sponsored travel". "Sponsored travel" is defined as travel expenses which are either: (1) reimbursed directly to you and/or (2) paid on your behalf (not reimbursed directly to you) for business purposes. Sponsored travel does not include travel funds or reimbursements that are administered by the Research Foundation, Stony Brook University, or Stony Brook Foundation.

Exclusions - The following exclusions apply to payments or ownership to you. These excluded items need not be disclosed:

  • Income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as you do not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles;
  • Income from seminars, lectures or teaching engagements sponsored by a (United States) federal, state or local government agency; or
  • Income from service on advisory committees or review panels for a (United States) federal, state or local government agency.