Information for Researchers

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte recognizes that conflicts of interest will arise from the research enterprise, from technology transfer activities, and from the many facets of our investigators’ professional activities. We seek to identify and manage these conflicting relationships to preserve transparency, protect research subjects, ensure the integrity of the educational experience, and maintain the credibility of investigators. Conflict of Interest administration resides within the Division of Research.

Regulatory definition of “Investigator”

“Investigator” means the principal investigator, project director, key personnel and any other person, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for the design, conduct or reporting of a Project. This definition aligns with the definitions used by the Public Health Service and the National Science Foundation.

Process for Project-specific disclosures

Project/ study specific COI Disclosures are automatically created when the e-IPF is approved by the designated departmental e-IPF Approver in NORM.

Process Outline:

  • Notification: Individuals receive email notification at time of initial departmental approval of the proposal (IPF). Each Investigator receives unique link to an automatically generated disclosure. (Reminder emails are sent periodically by the COI Manager)
  • Disclosure: Investigator answers the questions on disclosure form and then submits disclosure.
  • Routing: Once disclosure is submitted into online AIR system, the form is automatically “approved” if all responses are “no”, or is reviewed by the COI Manager if there are any “yes” responses. Positive disclosures are generally only reviewed for funded proposals, unless the disclosed activity was not previously reported.
  • Review: The COI Manager conducts an initial review for any positive disclosures for funded projects. The COI Manager determines if the disclosure meets the definition of a Significant Financial Interest, and if so, could that interest directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of the funded research.
  • Management: The COI Manager works with the discloser and their Dean/Department Chair to determine if the Significant Financial Interest can be managed, or if it should be reduced or eliminated.

Answering “yes” to a question on the disclosure form will not typically jeopardize your ability to participate with the sponsored research project. Only rarely is it determined that an actual conflict of interest exists and conflict(s) can almost always be managed through a combination of oversight and public disclosure.