Conflict of Interest (COI)

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University Guidelines

The University of Michigan defines a conflict of interest (COI) as “a situation where a faculty or staff member is in a position to influence the business, research, or other decisions of the University in relationship to an outside organization that could lead directly or indirectly to financial gain for that individual or the family of that individual, or give improper advantage to others to the detriment of the University.”


“You don’t have to do anything improper to have a conflict of interest; it is strictly situational”
– Paul J. Friedman


U-M follows several federal, state, and University policies and guidelines that govern outside interest disclosure and the management of conflicts of interest (COI) and conflict of commitments (COC) for research. See Quick Policy References (right) for the most common policies, or click the Policies link to view a comprehensive list.

Quick Policy References

For sponsored research:

Unit COI/COC Plans for Faculty & Staff
(e.g., LSA, Engineering, OVPR)

COI Policy help:
COI.Support@umich.edu

COI Committees

U-M Conflict of Interest Committees review disclosures that report an outside interest or activity to determine whether the financial or management interest could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of research. If a potential or actual conflict of interest related to the research or technology transfer is found, the committee works with the faculty or staff member (and the university regents, when applicable) to eliminate, minimize, or manage the conflict.There are two university COI Committees:

  • COI-UMOR reviews faculty and staff disclosures for the Ann Arbor (except Medical School and Health System), Flint, and Dearborn campuses
  • COI-MED reviews faculty and staff Medical School and Health System

Meeting Schedules and Due Dates:

More information:

The goal of the University’s conflict of interest review is to ensure that the personal interests of an individual do not unduly influence their primary obligations to science, sponsor, university, colleagues or students.

Resources & Training

All Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators are required to complete the Conflict of Interest course as part of the PEERRS program for Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCRS). See the PEERRS web site for more information and link to the course.

New Public Health Service (PHS) financial conflict of interest (FCOI) regulations went into effect on August 24, 2012. On the PHS Regulations page, learn more about the PHS FCOI Policy and obtain informational resources for your unit. If you are an investigator on a proposal for PHS funding (or other agency following PHS FCOI regulations), you must complete the PEERRS Confliction of Interest course.

More information