Carnegie Mellon University

Conflict of Interest

An online system (SPARCS) is available to meet COI requirements.  See Requirements for Investigators for details.


The university's principal missions are the education of students and the generation and dissemination of knowledge. In pursuit of these missions, or as a natural outgrowth of such activities, faculty, staff and students often become involved in outside activities. While extramural activities benefit the university and are generally encouraged, in some circumstances such activities give rise to conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest are situations that need to be disclosed and sometimes managed.  They are not inherently bad and do not always lead to biased behavior.  The university is committed to promoting objectivity in research.   

Members of CMU's research community should make the fulfillment of their responsibilities to the university the focal point of their professional activities. University members should only become involved in extramural professional activities insofar as they advance the mission or prestige of the university and the activities do not interfere with their responsibilities to the university.

CMU has three policies that address conflicts of interest in research:

Members of the research community should review these policies and associated guidance so they understand their responsibilities as they pertain to federal requirements and university policy. These policies set forth CMU's commitment to follow the law and promote the ethical conduct of research. Details of the COI policy and process are outlined in the COI Guidelines [PDF] document.

The Office of the Vice President of Research and the Office for Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) are responsible for compliance with financial conflict of interest regulations and policy.