9.2.1 Financial Conflict of Interest Disclosure for Federal Awards Procedure

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Chapter 9: Grants and Sponsored Projects

9.2.1 Financial Conflict of Interest Disclosure for Federal Awards Procedure


Related Minnesota State policy:

Related Minnesota State procedure:

Board Policy 1C.2, Fraudulent or Other Dishonest Acts (http://minnstate.edu/board/policy/1c02.html)

1C.0.1 Employee Code of Conduct, Part 3, Subpart A. Conflict of Interest (http://minnstate.edu/board/procedure/1c0p1.html)

Purpose: To provide a process for faculty and staff to complete appropriate disclosure forms to comply with Federal regulations as applied to Investigators in federal grant-sponsored awards.


The Institutional Official is responsible for ensuring implementation of this section and may suspend all relevant activities until the Financial Conflict of Interest is resolved or other action deemed appropriate by the Institutional Official is implemented. Violation of any part of this section may also constitute cause for disciplinary or other administrative action pursuant to existing policies, procedures and/or contracts applicable to the officer, employee or agent.

This Procedure is predicated on the expectation that Investigators conduct their affairs so as to avoid or minimize Financial Conflicts of Interest and respond appropriately when such Financial Conflicts of Interest arise. To that end, this section informs Investigators about situations that generate Financial Conflicts of Interest related to Research, projects or programs, provides mechanisms for Investigators and Normandale to manage those Financial Conflicts of Interest, and describes situations that are prohibited. Every Investigator has an obligation to become familiar with, and abide by, the provisions of this Procedure. If a situation posing questions of Financial Conflicts of Interest arises, an Investigator must discuss the situation with the Institutional Official.

Part 1: Disclosure of Financial Interests
 

As described below, all Investigators associated with the award must disclose if they have any Significant Financial Interests by completing and submitting a Financial Disclosure Statement. The Institutional Official is responsible for the distribution, receipt, processing, review and retention of the Financial Interests Report.

a) Pre-proposal Disclosures
Prior to Normandale submitting a proposal to a federal agency, any person intended to be Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD) or co-PI for the proposed award must complete and submit a Financial Disclosure Statement.

b) Initial Disclosures
Within 30 days of his or her initial appointment or employment as PI or co-PI, all Investigators must disclose their Significant Financial Interests to the Institutional Official via completion and submission of a Financial Disclosure Statement.

c) Annual Disclosures
All Investigators must disclose if they have any Significant Financial Interests on an annual basis. The completed Financial Interests Reports must be submitted to the Institutional Official October 1st or within 30 days of the request for the information.

d) Ad hoc Disclosures
Prior to entering into federal grant-sponsored projects as a subgrantee or submitting proposals for federally sponsored projects, where the Investigator has a Significant Financial Interest, the Investigator must affirm the currency of the annual disclosure or submit to the Institutional Official an updated disclosure of his or her Significant Financial Interests. Normandale will not submit a proposal unless the Investigator has submitted such updated disclosure.
In addition, all Investigators must submit to the Institutional Official an ad hoc disclosure of any Significant Financial Interest he or she acquires or discovers during the course of the year within thirty (30) days of discovering or acquiring the Significant Financial Interest.

e) Travel
Investigators must also disclose reimbursed or sponsored travel related to their Institutional Responsibilities, as defined in Policy 9.2. Such disclosures must include, at a minimum, the purpose of the trip, the identity of the sponsor/organizer, the destination, the duration, and, if known, the monetary value. The Institutional Official will determine if additional information is needed (e.g., the monetary value if not already disclosed) to determine whether the travel constitutes a Financial Conflict of Interest with the Investigator’s grant-funded work.

  Part 2: Review and Decision of the Institutional Official

Within 60 days of receipt of the Financial Disclosure Statement from the Investigator, the Institutional Official will review. If the report reveals a Significant Financial Interest, the Institutional Official will make a determination of whether it constitutes a Financial Conflict of Interest. If a Financial Conflict of Interest exists, the Institutional Official will take action to manage the Financial Conflict of Interest including the reduction or elimination of the conflict, as appropriate.

A Financial Conflict of Interest will exist when the Institutional Official or designee reasonably determines that a Significant Financial Interest could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of federally sponsored Research, projects or programs. If the Institutional Official determines that there is a Financial Conflict of Interest that can be managed, he or she must develop and implement a written management plan. The affected Investigator must formally agree to the proposed management strategies and sign the written management plan before any related federally-sponsored research, projects or programs go forward.

The Institutional Official will periodically review the ongoing activity, monitor the conduct of the activity, and otherwise oversee compliance with the management plan.

  Part 3: External and Internal Reporting

The Institutional Official will report identified Financial Conflicts of Interest, the resulting management plan and non-compliance, if applicable, to the federal agency or to the prime awardee, in accordance with that agency’s regulations. Such reports shall be sent to the awarding agency or to the prime awardee prior to the expenditure of any funds and within 60 days of any subsequently identified Financial Conflict of Interest. In addition, the Institutional Official will submit annual updates to the federal agency on previously reported Financial Conflicts of Interest.

The Institutional Official will also report identified Financial Conflicts of Interest to Normandale’s Fiscal Services office.

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Part 4: Investigator Non-Compliance
 

Disciplinary Action
If an Investigator fails to comply with this Procedure, the Institutional Official may suspend all relevant activities and/or recommend to the appropriate official at Normandale other disciplinary action. Normandale will determine the necessity and scope of any interim measures until the matter is resolved or other action deemed appropriate is implemented. The proper exercise of academic freedom by a faculty member is not intended to be restricted by Normandale’s enforcement of this Procedure.

Normandale’s decision to impose sanctions on an Investigator because of failure to comply with this Procedure, or failure to comply with the decision of the Institutional Official, will be described in a written explanation of the decision to the Investigator, and, where applicable, the Institutional Review Board, and will notify the individual of the right to appeal the decision. Normandale will promptly notify the federal agency of the action taken or to be taken. If funding for the research, project or program is made available from a prime awardee, such notification shall be made promptly to the prime awardee for reporting to the federal agency.

Normandale may impose any remedy that can be tailored to manage, reduce or eliminate Financial Conflicts of Interest, even if not specifically listed here. The range of measures may include:

  1. Public disclosure of Financial Conflicts of Interests, such as during dissemination of outcomes;
  2. For Research projects involving human subjects, disclosure of Financial Conflicts of Interests directly to participants;
  3. Monitoring of Research, project or program activities by independent reviewers;
  4. Modification of the Research, project or program activities;
  5. Change of personnel or disqualification of personnel from participation in the portion of the federally funded research, project or program activities that would be affected by the Financial Conflict of Interests;
  6. Divestiture of the Significant Financial Interests that created the Financial Conflict of Interest; or
  7. Severance of relationships that created the Financial Conflict of Interest.


Normandale will take immediate and responsive actions to enforce measures previously ordered or implemented by Normandale or the Institutional Official.

If the Institutional Official determines that a Financial Conflict of Interest was not identified or managed in a timely manner, including but not limited to an Investigator’s failure to disclose a Significant Financial Interest that is determined to be a Financial Conflict of Interest, or failure by an Investigator to materially comply with a management plan for a Financial Conflict of Interest, a committee composed of the director of grants & sponsored projects, vice president of finance and operations, vice president of the area submitting the grant, and vice president of human resources will complete a retrospective review of the Investigator’s activities and the federally sponsored research, project, or program to determine whether the research, project, or program conducted during the period of non-compliance was biased in its design, conduct, or reporting.

Documentation of the retrospective review shall include the project number, project title, name of the project’s principle investigator, name of Investigator with the Financial Conflict of Interest, name of the entity with which the Investigator has the Financial Conflict of Interest, reason(s) for the retrospective review, detailed methodology used for the retrospective review, and findings and conclusions of the review.

The Institutional Official will update any previously submitted report to the federal agency or to the prime awardee relating to the research, project or program, specifying the actions that will be taken to manage the Financial Conflict of Interest going forward. This retrospective review will be completed in the manner and within the time frame established in the federal agency’s regulations. If bias is found, Normandale will promptly notify the federal agency and submit a mitigation report in accordance with the agency’s regulations. The mitigation report will identify elements documented in the retrospective review, a description of the impact of the bias on the Research, project or program and the plan of action to eliminate or mitigate the effect of the bias.

  Part 5: Training

Each Investigator must complete training on the Conflict of Interest for Federal Awards Policy and Procedure, including the Investigator’s responsibilities regarding disclosure and the related federal agency’s regulations, prior to engaging in research, projects, or programs funded by a federal agency, and at least every four years thereafter. They must also complete training within a reasonable period of time as determined by the Institutional Official if the Policy and/or Procedure is substantively amended in a manner that affects the requirements of Investigators, if the Investigator is new to Normandale, or if it is determined that the Investigator has not complied either with this Procedure or with a management plan related to their activities.

  Part 6: Record Availability/Retention

Upon request, the Institutional Official will allow the relevant federal agency access to all records related to compliance with this Policy.

The Institutional Official will retain all disclosure forms, conflict management plans, and related documents for a period of three years from the date the final expenditure report is submitted to the federal agency or to the prime awardee. If any litigation, claim, financial management review, or audit is started before the expiration of the three year period, the records shall be retained until all litigation, claims or audit findings involving the records have been resolved and final action taken.

  Part 7: Confidentiality

To the extent permitted by law, Normandale will treat disclosure forms, conflict management plans, and related information as confidential; however, Normandale may be required to make such information available to the federal agency, to a requestor of information concerning Financial Conflict of Interest related to federal funding, or to the primary entity who made the funding available to Normandale. If Normandale is requested to provide disclosure forms, conflict management plans, and related information to an outside entity, the Investigator will be informed of this disclosure. 

  Part 8: Public Accessibility

Prior to the expenditure of funds, Normandale will report to the grantor agency the existence of any conflicting interest (but not the nature of the interest or other details) and assure that the interest has been managed, reduced or eliminated in accordance with this procedure. Normandale will also respond to any requestor within five business days of the request, information concerning any Significant Financial Interest that meets the following criteria:

  1. The Significant Financial Interest was disclosed and is still held by the senior and key personnel;
  2. A determination has been made that the Significant Financial Interest is related to the federally funded research, project or program; and
  3. A determination has been made that the Significant Financial Interest is a Financial Conflict of Interest.
    The information to be made available shall be consistent with the requirements of the federal agency’s regulations.
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Policy History
Date of Adoption: 04/02/2019
Department Owner: Grants
Date and Subject of Revisions:

Next Review Date: 4/2/2023

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