Externally sponsored research is a vital part of UMBC’s mission. As this activity grows in sophistication and complexity, it increasingly intersects with entrepreneurial ventures creating the potential for conflicting interests.

Maryland law and USM policy encourage public higher education institutions to promote economic development in the State and increase their financial resources through private sector relationships. UMBC is dedicated to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct and complies with all applicable laws and regulations related to all University affairs. As such, UMBC has created a Code of Ethics for all members of the campus community to observe for maintaining the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct while practicing honesty and integrity that comply with applicable laws and regulations.

Federal funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation (“NSF”) and the Public Health Service (“PHS”) encourage economic development.  Moreover, they have taken a lead role in establishing standards to ensure there is no reasonable perception that the design, conduct, or reporting of research funded under PHS or NSF grants or cooperative agreements will be biased by any conflicting financial interest of an investigator.  Other sponsors have applied the same standards to their awards. Relationships covered under these standards may include any type of reimbursement or payment, ownership through stocks or options by the investigator or the investigator’s family, as well as collaborative research and development, or commercial application of institution-owned intellectual property and creative works.

UMBC has policies to meet conflict of interest regulatory requirements:  

If you are a PHS funded researcher, please review the interim policy related to the PHS conflict of interest regulations. We also have FAQs that will answer questions as well as the procedures that implement this policy.

Other researchers (non-PHS funded) must follow the UMBC Policy on Individual Conflicts of Interest in Research & Product Development and its procedures.

The ORPC will work with researchers to identify methods and means to manage, reduce or eliminate conflicts of interest. We’ll assist in developing sample language of public disclosure of conflicts of interest to journals, disclosure to subordinates or students (in management plans), divest financial interests that present conflicts of interests, as well as language for human research consent documents. For more information, please view examples here and here.


Please contact the Office for Research Protections and Compliance at 410-455-2737 or compliance@umbc.edu with any questions.

last updated: 06/11/2014

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