Research

Use of University Facilities

Use of University Facilities

From "Conflict of Interest Policy for Officers of Instruction and Research" December 2002:

"Universities are accountable for the research they perform. An institution must ensure that the research conducted by its faculty, both on campus and in affiliated facilities, meets the highest standards of ethics and integrity, and promotes public health. The increasing collaboration between industry and research universities, the expectation that the universities can and should be involved in the economic development of their region and state, and the increasing interest of the faculty in participation in entrepreneurial endeavors have inevitably raised questions about the potential risks of academics' financial relationships with the private sector. Brown's Conflict of Interest Policy both affirms the University's own integrity and responds to federal requirements.

In general, there is a predisposition to permit faculty, with appropriate disclosure and management practices, to maintain their outside professional and commercial relationships. Problems most often arise not from the particular conflicts, but rather from what is done with the conflict. In most cases, problems arise when the conflict is not disclosed, discussed, assessed and appropriately managed."

A particular challenge arises when University facilities are used, or are perceived to be used, in the service of outside commercial interests. The University has addressed that scenario in its Conflict of Interest policy, as follows:

"Faculty members should not use the facilities and resources of the University for personal gain. Faculty members should reimburse the University for any administrative costs (e.g. secretarial/administrative assistance, phones, use of office equipment and computer services) used in the course of their consulting activities. Assuming the consulting activity does not interfere with University obligations and operations, use of the faculty member's office is permissible. Use of University laboratory space by for-profit companies, especially those in which the faculty member has a financial interest, is permissible only under special conditions and requires prior written approval of the Chair, Dean of the Faculty or Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences, and Provost. Approval is likely to be granted only in extraordinary circumstances and where the University is fully compensated for the use of the facilities and the research program is conducted in compliance with all University research policies."