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Commitment of Time, Conflict of Interest, Consulting, and Other Employment


To (1) identify situations that may generate conflicts; (2) provide means for faculty, staff, and the University to manage conflicts of time and interest; (3) promote best interests of students, research trainees, and postdoctoral researchers; and (4) describe the types of conflicts that are prohibited.

Applies to: 
  • Faculty, including unclassified academic staff, and unclassified professional staff; and
  • Non-employee and employee researchers collaborating on projects supported by or conducted under the auspices of KU
Juniper Gardens
Medical Center, Kansas City
Policy Statement: 
  1. Preamble 

    The Board of Regents encourages the Regents institutions to interact with business, industry, public and private foundations, and government agencies in order to assure the relevance of their missions of teaching, research and service; to provide for and facilitate the professional development of their faculty and unclassified staff, and to promote the rapid expansion and application of knowledge, gained through research, to the needs of Kansas, the region and the nation. With particular reference to such interaction, the Board of Regents considers it of utmost importance that university employees conduct their affairs so as to avoid or minimize conflicts of time commitments and conflicts of interest, and that the Regents institutions must be prepared to respond appropriately when real or apparent conflicts arise.

    To those ends, the purposes of this policy are to: (i) educate about situations that generate conflicts; (ii) provide means for faculty and unclassified staff and the university to manage real or apparent conflicts; (iii) promote best interests of students and others whose work depends on faculty direction; and (iv) describe situations that are prohibited. Every faculty member and member of the unclassified staff has an obligation to become familiar with, and abide by, the provisions of this policy. If a situation raising questions of real or apparent conflict of commitment or conflict of interest arises, affected faculty and/or unclassified staff must meet with their department chair, school dean or supervisor, report the conflict as described below, and eliminate the conflict or manage it in an acceptable manner.

  2. Definitions

    Compensation: means remuneration, including any money, thing of value, or economic benefit conferred on, or received by, any person in return for services rendered, or to be rendered, by such person or another.

    Conflict of Interest: occurs when there is a divergence between an individual's private, personal relationships or interests and their professional obligations to the University such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the individual's professional actions or decisions are determined or substantially influenced by considerations of personal benefit gain or advantage.

    Conflict of Time Commitment: A situation in which an individual accepts or incurs conflicting obligations between or among multiple employers or other entities. 

    External Professional Activities: compensated or uncompensated activities reasonably related to an employee’s University responsibilities performed for any entity other than the University. This includes but is not limited to external faculty positions, consulting arrangements, outside employment, private practice, managerial responsibilities, or participation in or leadership of startup companies. Service to the Profession or Discipline and personal creative or scholarly works are exempt from reportable external professional activities.

    Equity Interest: legal ownership or control of stock, stock options, or other investment instruments, regardless of whether the holdings have a financial value.

    Financial Interest: any combination of legal ownership or partnership in an entity, including equity interest, ownership of intellectual property, or receipt of remuneration royalties. 

    Managerial Responsibilities: any outside activity that would impose fiduciary or executive obligations such as a leadership position or membership on a board, whether compensated (reportable financial interest) or uncompensated (reportable time commitment). 

    Reasonably Related to University Responsibilities: includes research, teaching, scope of professional expertise, executive leadership decision-making roles, medical orders, procurement of services/supplies, business transactions with university or affiliate corporation, etc.

    Reportable Financial Interest: means any financial interest held by an individual (and/or their immediate family), or by a business entity controlled or directed by the individual or a member of their immediate family, that is reasonably related to their University responsibilities and passes the threshold for monetary value:

    • In a non-publicly traded (privately held) entity
      • any equity interest (e.g., stock, stock option, partnership, or other ownership interest) regardless of monetary value; and/or
      • remuneration, (e.g., salary, consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship) received of greater than $5,000 in the twelve months preceding the disclosure.
    • In a publicly traded entity
      • remuneration (e.g., salary, consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship) received in the twelve months preceding disclosure, plus the value of any equity interest (i.e., stock, stock option, partnership, or other ownership interest) in the entity at the date of disclosure that, when aggregated, exceed $5,000.
    • Royalty income from intellectual property rights not arising out of KU employment, which are not assigned to KU or affiliate organizations.
    • Reimbursed or sponsored travel related to institutional responsibilities that is not reimbursed or sponsored by a government agency, a U.S. university, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with a U.S. university.
    • Managerial interest: Service in positions with fiduciary responsibility, including senior managers (e.g., presidents, vice presidents) and members of boards of directors, are reportable under conflict of interest if the ownership and/or remuneration values exceed the levels mentioned above.

    Reportable Time Commitment: Any External Professional Activity that takes time from an individual’s responsibility to the University.

    Service to the Profession or Discipline: involves activities that enhance the quality of the profession or discipline and which are clearly of a scholarly, professional, or technical nature, rather than commercial, and in which compensation does not exceed the threshold for a Reportable Financial Interest.

  3. Guidelines 

    1. External Professional Activities 
      1. Faculty: The University encourages external professional activities on subjects that are within the faculty member’s area of professional expertise, provided such activity:
        1. further develops the faculty member in a professional sense or serves the community, state, or nation in an area related to the faculty member’s professional expertise;
        2. does not interfere with the faculty member’s contractual and temporal obligations relating to teaching, research, and service to the University; and
        3. is consistent with the objectives of the University.
      2. Staff: Staff may engage in external professional activities provided such activity:
        1. further develops the staff member in a professional sense or serves the community, state, or nation in an area related to the staff member’s professional expertise;
        2. occurs outside regular work hours or with approved leave, unless justified in writing by supervisor; and
        3. is consistent with the objectives of the University.
      3. Generally prohibited activities for faculty and staff:
        1. Regular instructional service to other educational institutions;
        2. Significant outside managerial responsibilities;
        3. Acting as principal investigators on sponsored projects that could be conducted at the University but instead are submitted and managed though another organization.
      4. For less than full time faculty or staff, the generally prohibited activities may be approved in advance, with consideration of the employee’s University responsibilities and according to the appliable campus procedure.
    2. Conflicts of Time Commitment 

      Whenever a faculty or staff member's external professional activities exceed reasonable time limits, or whenever a full-time faculty or staff member's primary professional responsibility is not to the University, a conflict of time commitment exists. Faculty and staff are expected to maintain a presence on campus commensurate with their appointments. The specific responsibilities, including position requirements, employment obligations, and professional activities that constitute an appropriate commitment of time for an employee’s appointment, may differ across schools and departments. However, full-time appointments carry an expectation of full-time, primary professional time commitment of the employee to the University.

    3. Conflicts of Interest (COI) 
      1. The University supports reasonable external professional activities of faculty, such as consulting and commercialization of KU technologies and scholarly works, and recognizes that conflicts of financial interest may arise from these activities. When such activities or interests create a conflict of interest, they may call into question the professional objectivity and ethics of the individual, cast doubt on the validity of University research, and/or may compromise the integrity of the University as an institution of public trust.
      2. Reportable financial interests that do not involve activities of the employee may also create a conflict of interest with University responsibilities (see Reportable Financial Interest).
      3. Employees and non-employee researchers are obliged to disclose financial interests that meet defined criteria for reporting. A disclosed interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest.
      4. The University reviews disclosures, determines whether a conflict of interest exists and manages the conflict in order to preserve best interests of the individual and the University, and to maintain public trust.
  4. Reporting Requirements 

    1. External Professional Activity 
      1. Prior Approval: External professional activity, such as consulting and outside employment, by University employees must be approved in advance by the appropriate administrative officer for each campus through the unit head or chair and the dean or vice provost in accordance with the applicable campus procedure.
      2. Request process: Faculty and staff shall inform the appropriate administrative officer for each campus, through the unit or department chair or head and the dean, of all External Professional Activities no matter the financial interest. The faculty or staff member shall report in writing the proposed arrangements, and secure approval prior to engaging in the activities. The report shall indicate the external professional activities, the amount of time to be spent, including travel time, and the amount of time expected to be spent on all such outside consulting activities or employment during the coming academic year.
      3. Exclusions to prior approval of External Professional Activities:
        1. Service to the Profession or Discipline: examples include peer review of scholarly, artistic, or creative works; external program reviews; grant proposal review; editorial board work for scholarly outlets; serving as an officer of a scholarly/professional organization; service or scholarly presentations/seminars at disciplinary/professional society meetings, domestic educational institutions, U.S., state, or local government agencies or not-for-profit organizations.
        2. Unpaid research/scholarship/creative activity: examples include scholarly presentations; artistic/creative performances, presentations, masterclasses, or exhibitions of artistic or creative work.
      4. All external professional activities, including those that do not require prior approval, that exceed financial thresholds must also be disclosed through the conflict of interest reporting system.
    2. Conflict of Interest 
      1. Annual Reporting
        At time of initial appointment and at the designated period for annual reporting, the relevant University administrative office will issue a prompt to update COI disclosure information to all faculty and staff, and non-employee or employee researchers. The forms shall require these individuals to disclose to the University whether they or members of their immediate family (spouse and dependent children), personal household, or associate entities (e.g., corporations, partnerships, or trusts in which they have a significant interest) have a Reportable Financial Interest or Reportable Time Commitment that passes the thresholds for disclosure.
      2. Ongoing Duty to the Update Reports
        In addition to the annual report, faculty and staff shall submit an update in the applicable campus reporting system within 30 days upon discovery or acquisition of a new Reportable Financial Interest. Such reports will be reviewed in accordance with the annual certification review process.
      3. Conflict of Interest Reporting for Sponsored Research
        Additional, project-specific reporting is required of researchers on certain funding proposals and awards for compliance with federal regulations and/or sponsor requirements. These agencies may also require specific training of personnel prior to release of the award.
  5. Disclosure Review and Management 

    1. External Professional Activity  
      1. Review of prior approval request
        Review of each prior approval request must take into consideration the employee’s time commitments of both paid and unpaid professional activity when approving such activities. Staff must conduct external professional activities outside of regularly scheduled office hours or take accrued leave. Exceptions must be justified and shown to enhance the institutional mission.
      2. Consulting for other State of Kansas agencies
        Consulting by University employees for other KBOR institutions or state agencies must be approved in advance by the University. The University shall affect payment through the regular process and shall receive reimbursement through the interfund transfer process. For assistance with reimbursement for state agency consulting, please contact Budget Management/Fiscal Services in Lawrence: 785-864-3138 or Institutional Finance, Control and Reporting Team at the Medical Center: 913-588-5365.
    2. COI Disclosure and Management 
      1. COI reports that have no reportable interests and commitments do not require review, however individuals must submit their reports in the applicable campus system, when prompted or on acquisition of a new Reportable Financial Interest, to document compliance with this policy.   
      2. COI reports with reportable interests and commitments are reviewed through the applicable campus process. When the University determines that the information submitted indicates that a conflict of time commitment or conflict of interest does or may exist, the University may require the faculty member, staff member, or non-employee or employee researcher to submit additional information and explanation regarding the relationship and/or activity to determine whether a management plan should be implemented.
      3. When necessary, the University will work with the individual and a supervisor to create a plan appropriate to manage the conflict.
    3. Disposition of Reports for Financial Interests and Time Commitments 

      All reports of financial interests, conflicts of interest, and conflicts of time commitment shall be submitted in accordance with University requirements and shall be used for the determination of whether an individual is in compliance with this policy. Such reports shall also be available to University research officers and administrators to permit certification and/or verification of compliance with federal regulations. The University will maintain these reports for a minimum of three years.

      For purposes of KUMC faculty and staff who are dually employed with University of Kansas Physicians, Inc. (UKP), KUMC may disseminate Conflict of Interest reporting information submitted to KUMC to UKP, or to the KU Hospital Authority on its behalf, in order to ensure conflict of interest related matters are reviewed and managed appropriately.

  6. Use of University Resources 

    Except in a purely incidental way, University resources, including, but not limited to, facilities, materials, personnel, electronic resources, equipment, or non-public data shall not be used in external professional activities unless a written agreement for use of such resources has been negotiated with the relevant administrative unit, or prior written approval has been received from the Chancellor or their designee. Such permission shall be granted only when the use of University resources is determined to further the mission of the institution. When such permission is granted, arrangements to reimburse the University for institutional materials, facilities, or services used in the external activity shall be included in the agreement or written approval. Such use shall not be authorized if it violates the KBOR policy on Sales of Products and Services.

    1. University proprietary or other confidential information not available to the public shall not be used for external purposes unless prior written approval has been received from the Chancellor or designee. Examples include unpublished records of research, scholarship, or creative activity, staff directories and personnel information, budget plans, project plans and resource allocation, and export-controlled information.
    2. Use of KBOR or University name or brand marks: The name of the University of Kansas, KBOR, or the KBOR System may never be used as an endorsement of a faculty or staff member's external activities or by any outside entity for any purpose without express and advance written approval of the Chancellor or KBOR's President and Chief Executive Officer, as appropriate. Faculty and staff members may list the University in professional books, articles and monographs, and other scholarly work they author or edit; in connection with professional workshops; or in presentations, without securing approval.
    3. Involvement of University personnel or students in external financial interests: University personnel shall not involve University students, University staff, or University faculty in their external activities if such involvement is in any way coerced or in any way conflicts with the involved participants' required commitments of time to the University. For example, a student's grades or progress towards a degree shall not be conditioned on participation in a University instructor’s, advisor’s, or mentor’s external activities. Students may be employed in faculty-owned businesses as described in the Employment of students in faculty-owned businesses policy.
  7. Special Considerations 

    Kansas Ethics Statutes
    1. State ethics statutes may apply to activities of University employees, including but not limited to statutes regarding receipt of gifts, negotiating business transactions, and disclosure by state employees of financial interests.
    2. Certain faculty and administrators are required to submit an annual State of Kansas Statement of Significant Financial Interests (SSI). These reports are made through the State of Kansas reporting system and are a completely separate obligation from conflict of interest and conflict of time commitment reporting.
Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Any individual who has a concern regarding a potential commitment of time and/or conflict of interest violation may contact the Institutional Hotline to anonymously report a concern. Please Call: 844-420-9065.


Failure to timely report Significant Financial Interests, Managerial Responsibilities, Outside Employment and other External Professional Activity as described above to the University may result in denial of the opportunity to submit research proposals to external funding agencies and could result in delay of availability of award funds until reports have been submitted and reviewed, and any disclosure deemed to be a conflict of interest is appropriately managed.
In addition, failure to comply with any aspects of this policy (i.e., not filing, filing incomplete, erroneous, or inaccurate reports, noncompliance with an approved conflict of interest management plan) may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the applicable campus procedures.


Lawrence and Reporting Campuses:
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
University of Kansas,
Strong Hall, 1450 Jayhawk Boulevard, Room 250
Lawrence, KS 66045

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
University of Kansas
Youngberg Hall
2385 Irving Hill Rd.
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7563

Susan MacNally
Director, Research Integrity

KU Medical Center Campuses:
Office of Audit, Risk & Compliance
KU Medical Center Office of Compliance
Conflict of Interest Program
3901 Rainbow Blvd., MS 7004
Kansas City, KS 66160

Ryan Werth
Director, Research Integrity

Approved by: 
Approved on: 
Thursday, April 20, 1995
Effective on: 
Sunday, October 1, 1995
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Conflict of time, conflict of interest, consulting, external activities
Change History: 

02/27/2024: Updated policy to all-University.
11/08/2023: Fixed broken link.
01/25/2023: Fixed broken links.
01/20/2023: Fixed broken link.
06/26/2017: Updated links to related consulting forms.
02/21/2017: Fixed broken link to Kansas Board of Regents Policy Manual.
07/01/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
04/02/2015: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
02/27/2015: Changed typo at http://policy.ku.edu/provost/commitment-of-time-conflict-of-interest in section I.B.3. Changed "modem university" to "modern university".
12/16/2014: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
11/03/2014: Minor policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
07/10/2014: Technical edits - selected 'Lawrence' for Campus; updated formatting of Applies to, Contents, Policy Statement, Contact; fixed broken links in Related Policies, Related Forms, and added links to Related Other; updated references to 'Office of Research' to reflect current title.
05/22/2013: Added Policy Address field.
05/20/2013: Updated contact information.
04/22/2010: Updated by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor in consultation with Human Resources and the Office of the General Counsel to provide more detailed guidance (Section II.B) on consulting by unclassified professional staff and to include “single occasion activities” in the “Definitions” section.
04/02/2009: Reviewed for accuracy; editorial modifications only.
10/18/2001: Change approved by Kansas Board of Regents. The effect of the change was to assign to each Regents institution the responsibility for determining the application of consulting policies and procedures to unclassified staff who are not faculty.

Academic Categories: 
Conflict of Interest

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