The Conflict of Interest (COI) program at Augusta University (AU) serves to maintain the integrity of the teaching, discovery, and clinical care missions of AU by encouraging transparent reporting and management of external interests and activities. 

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest may occur when an individual’s personal interests and/or outside activities – family, friendships, financial, or social factors – could compromise their judgment, decisions, or actions in the workplace.  For faculty, staff, and affiliates of AU, a potential conflict of interest could create the appearance that an individual’s ability to protect AU’s interest, or perform AU duties, could be compromised by a personal, financial, or business interest.  Individuals engaged in research have the additional responsibility to avoid a financial conflict of interest (FCOI) that could affect, or appear to affect, the design, conduct, or reporting of research activities. 

There may be times when conflicts of interest, or apparent conflicts, are unavoidable.  Indeed, in certain situation, such activities may benefit AU.  For example, consulting or entrepreneurial activities may lead to external research funding.  The disclosure and management of potential conflicts of interest serve to maintain the integrity of AU’s teaching, discovery, and clinical care missions.  AU’s faculty, staff and affiliates have an obligation to disclose external relationships and activities that create potential conflicts of interest. 

AU's Individual Conflict of Interest Policy

Conflict Disclosure

All AU faculty, staff, and affiliates are required to complete a COI disclosure within 30 days of hire and thereafter on an annual basis, even if they have no potential conflict to disclose.  Individuals must update their annual disclosure within 30 calendar days of establishing any new interests/relationships or when there are substantive changes in any existing interests/relationships that might reasonably be related to their AU responsibilities.

Submit or Modify COI disclosure

Researchers will be asked to disclose any potential conflict of interest created by a new project to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Office and/or Division of Sponsored Programs (DSPA) via a Project COI Disclosure.  The IRB Office and/or DSPA will then communicate with the COI team to verify that the appropriate disclosure has been reviewed and a management plan developed (if appropriate). 

It is important to note that many activities that create a potential conflict of interest also have the potential to create a conflict of commitment and thus also fall under the Outside Professional Activities and Off Campus Duty policy.  All faculty and staff are expected to obtain supervisory approval before engaging in an outside activity that relates to their role at AU and to submit an annual report of all outside activities at the end of each fiscal year.  This approval and reporting process is in addition to, and does not replace, the COI disclosure process.

Outside Activity policy and forms

Conflict Review and Management

Your disclosure will be reviewed, either administratively by the Office of Research Ethics and Compliance, and/or by the COI Committee, and one of the following determinations will be made:

  • No conflict identified
  • Potential conflict identified, no management plan required
  • Potential conflict identified, management plan required
  • Potential conflict identified, outside activity/interest or AU role/activity must be adjusted.

Results of the review and any management plan requirements will be communicated to the disclosing individual, their supervisor, and Dean or Vice President. 

Monitoring of Compliance with Management Plan Requirements

If a management plan is required, plan requirements will be communicated to the disclosing individual’s supervisor, who will be responsible for routine monitoring of compliance with those requirements.  Management plan compliance is subject to additional monitoring by the Office of Research, Ethics and Compliance.   

Contact Us

Ryan Sconyers, Coordinator, Research Compliance Programs


1120 15th Street CJ-1022 Augusta, GA 30912

Best Practices for Potential Conflicts

  • Do not try to evaluate your own potential conflict. If an outside interest or activity may create even the appearance of a conflict, you should disclose that relationship.  It is the responsibility of AU’s Conflict of Interest committee and its designee(s) to evaluate potential conflicts. 
  • When in doubt, make the disclosure. Not sure if a new interest or activity creates a potential conflict?  Go ahead and make the disclosure, or contact the COI Office [who’s the COI office?] for guidance.
  • Obtain prior approval for use of AU resources. AU resources include buildings, equipment, IT networks, libraries, personnel, students, branding (name, logos), etc.  Use of AU resources for an outside activity requires prior explicit disclosure and approval.  A management plan, if required, will provide additional guidance.     
  • Disclose your potential conflict of interest to other entities. Disclosure may be required in publications, presentations, grant applications, Informed Consent Documents, etc.  A management plan, if required, will provide additional guidance.
  • Avoid creating a conflict of commitment. Limit time commitments to any outside entity to the maximum allowed by the Outside Professional Activities and Off Campus Duty policy.
  • Recuse yourself from decision making. If the outside entity with which you have a relationship intends to enter into a business relationship with AU, you must recuse yourself from being involved in making any of those business decisions on behalf of AU at the outset or during the relationship.  A management plan, if required, will provide additional guidance. 
  • Do not negotiate or sign agreements on behalf of AU. You are encouraged to seek the advice of independent legal counsel for personal agreements (i.e., not related to your work as an AU  employee) between you and the outside entity, and you may sign those agreements on your own behalf.  Agreements between any outside entity and AU as a named party must be signed by an authorized signatory for AU.
  • Protect intellectual property (IP) rights. Before you sign an agreement with an outside entity, you should ensure that the agreement acknowledges that the entity’s IP rights are subject to the university’s rights as your employer.
  • Make the appropriate disclosures to federal funding agencies. Certain conflict of interest, conflict of commitment, and paid or reimbursed travel must be disclosed to federal funding agencies in Biosketch, Other Support, and Foreign Component
  • Report potential conflicts of immediate family members. If an immediate family member has an interest or activity that may be related to your role at AU, you must report that as a potential conflict.