COI: Financial Conflicts of Interest
Federal guidelines and university policies aim to promote integrity in research as well as provide transparency where researchers may be seen to have a bias because of financial holdings they may have. In order to address these concerns, LSU researchers are obligated to disclose any potential Significant Financial Interests they may have. Policy Statement 98 provides the guidelines under which these disclosures must happen.
Effective June 21, 2019, all investigators must disclose any SFIs at the time they submit an application for any externally funded research grant program. Investigators must update their disclosures annually while they are participating in any active externally funded project. Investigators must also update their SFIs within 30 days of any significant changes in their SFI portfolio.
Step-by-Step Guide for COI Disclosures
Significant Financial Interests
PS 98 defines a Significant Financial Interest (SFI) as a financial interest that reasonably appears to be related to the investigator's institutional responsibilities, and any of the following: provides remuneration or economic benefit of an aggregate value over $5,000 per year, is an equity interest of any value in a company, or is income related to intellectual property rights and interests not reimbursed through LSU (see PS-98 section 1 for more detailed definition).
SFIs do not include any remuneration from LSU, income from authorship of academic or scholarly work, income from seminars, lectures or other activities on behalf of federal, state, or local governmental agencies, US institutions of higher education or affiliated research centers. Equity interests or investments in retirement accounts where the investigator does not directly control investment decisions are also not considered SFIs.
What happens if I have a Financial Conflict of Interest?
SFI disclosures are reviewed at the time of the grant award. If it is determined that an FCOI exists, the institutional official will assemble a management committee to develop a set of processes and conditions to assure that the design, conduct or reporting of research is free from bias and the appearance of bias.
The management committee will typically include the investigator, an administrator from the investigator's department of college, and appropriate staff from the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Research & Economic Development.