Conflict of Interest

The modern research university must embrace technology transfer as a part of its mission to the public and to its stakeholders. Commercial ventures within the university, however, must be handled carefully to avoid conflicts of interest with the primary educational role of the university. Having an outside audit of technology transfer activities can avoid university liability and possible embarrassment.

Issues such as sharing of equity in start-up companies, receipt of royalty on intellectual property ownership, or the activities of graduate students on projects involving faculty members who have fiduciary interests in the outcome of the project are examples of issues that can represent delicate situations that must be closely monitored by the university. While many research universities have internal conflict of interest committees, an outside review by an unbiased third party can provide administrators with additional input regarding potentially troublesome situations or even the perception of conflict.

An outside Conflict of Interest Review can often provide a needed outside, unbiased view of technology transfer activities.