Policy Ref. P37


The purpose of this policy is to affirm our commitment to promoting the highest level of integrity and objectivity in research, to protect Carnegie’s business interests, and to comply with applicable laws and regulations.


Conflict of Commitment: 

Acceptance of a position at Carnegie entails a commitment to assign first priority to the needs and goals of the institution. At the same time, it is recognized that participation in activities of government, professional associations, industry, and other private institutions may serve the research mission of the institution and contribute to the richness and diversity of the research community. Moreover, as a result of such activities, society may benefit from the dissemination of knowledge and technology developed at Carnegie. A commitment to serve an institution, agency, or industrial organization other than Carnegie should be made only after giving serious consideration to the amount of time and effort that can be given to another entity while satisfying the primary commitment at Carnegie. Any such commitment may be made only in compliance with this policy and the Consulting and other Outside Professional Activity. Where there is the possibility or appearance of a conflict between your obligations to another organization and those to Carnegie, such conflict must be submitted as a written report as described below.    

Conflict of Interest:

A Conflict of Interest may take various forms, but arises when a member of the Carnegie community is (or may be) in a position to influence the Institution’s business, research, educational activities, or other decisions in ways that could lead to any form of personal gain for that individual or the individual’s family, bias the individual’s research, or give improper advantage to others to the detriment of the Institution or to the interest of the public. For example, a Conflict of Interest could exist when an individual has a Financial Interest that would reasonably appear to be directly and significantly affected by the research or educational activities funded or proposed to be funded by the Institution or an outside sponsor.

Further, ownership of shares in a mutual fund, or in TIAA CREF funds, does not create a potential conflict and does not need to be disclosed in a report for purposes of this policy.

Employees or Fellows who have a Financial Interest in an outside entity may represent a source of conflict or an appearance of conflict in conduct and reporting of research or other matters at Carnegie.  All arrangements involving potential Conflicts of Interest must be reported to and reviewed by Carnegie as described below.

Reporting Requirements:

Annual and New Hire Report:  The Institution will also require all newly hired employees and Fellows complete a conflict of interest questionnaire at the point of hire and thereafter on an annual basis.   All current employees and Fellows must complete a conflict of interest questionnaire on an annual basis.  Review of all submissions will be conducted according to the Carnegie Approval Process.  

Disclosure is a continuing obligation, as additional disclosures must be made if a possible conflict becomes evident when an ongoing relationship with an outside party changes or new activities arise with a new outside party. For example, employees and Fellows must prepare a written report before undertaking any commitment or pursuing any activity that may create a Conflict of Interest or conflict with their primary commitment to the institution. 

Review and Managing Conflicts of Interest:

The determination of whether a conflict of commitment or Conflict of Interest exists in a particular instance will always be a matter of judgement by the institution in its sole discretion, assessed after taking into consideration all the facts of the situation.  Any disclosures of potential conflicts and any requests for approval shall be reviewed and facts examined.  A conflict may be managed, reduced or eliminated.  Where a conflict is reduced or managed such will be in writing and incorporated into a management plan.   Copies of the approval will be retained in the employee’s record.  Such exceptions are subject to retraction at any time and could be modified, changed or removed for any reason at the sole discretion of the Institution.  Where a conflict cannot be managed, Carnegie will inform any applicable funding agency of the conflict.

In instances where activities are permitted but with an approved management plan the management plan must include (at a minimum):

  1. Address external activity in a way to ensure it does not interfere with the interests of Carnegie;
  2. Ensure employee is not participating in decisions on Institution’s behalf, which the external activity, interest, or commitment will cast doubt on the fairness or integrity of the institution’s business dealings; and
  3. Establish a review and approval process with timely check ins as appropriate.

Violations of this policy including failure to report and/or failure to adhere to a management plan are subject to Disciplinary Action, up to and including termination. 

Examples of Conflicts of Interest or commitment that may arise:

Although every kind of conduct that could lead to a conflict of interest cannot be included here, the following actions are considered a Conflict of Commitment or Conflict of Interest and are prohibited, unless managed, consistent with this policy:

  • Use of Carnegie funded or supported materials, Carnegie confidential or privileged information, or Carnegie resources for one’s personal gain.
  • Use of Carnegie’s resources, except in incidental ways, for any purposes other than performance of one’s employment.
  • Participation in, negotiating, or giving final approval to financial or business transactions between Carnegie and other organizations in which you as an individual or your immediate family member (spouse, domestic partner, child) has either or both:
    • a Financial Interest in the other organization or
    • you or an immediate family member has an employment or consulting arrangement with the other organization.
    • originating or approving financial or other business transactions between Carnegie and another organization, where there are any financial ties, may create the appearance of conflict.  In all cases, a conflict like this must be disclosed, reviewed for approval, and properly documented with the Office of General Counsel.
  • Acceptance of gratuities, solicited gifts of any value, unsolicited gifts above a nominal value, or special favors from private or public organizations or individuals with which the institution does business, see Gifts and Hospitality.
  • Extending gratuities or special favors to employees of other organizations.  
  •  Acceptance of employment or other activities which conflicts with your primary commitment to Carnegie or your ability to protect Carnegie’s interests subject to this policy and Consulting and other Outside Professional Activity. 


Financial Interest:

A Financial Interest includes anything of monetary value, including payment for services (salary, retainer, consultant fee, honorarium), stock, stock options, partnership interest, intellectual property rights (i.e. patents), and payment for and royalties from such rights.

July 1, 2018