Individual Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment

In September 2013, the University of Texas System (UTS) finalized a new policy required by the Board of Regents to be implemented in 2014 called UTS 180: Conflict of Interest, Conflict of Commitment, and Outside Activities. As required by the UTS policy and similar to the other UT institutions, UTMB will implement IHOP 6.5.3 - Individual Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities on February 1, 2014.

For additional information regarding the UTS 180 policy, please view the Conflict of Interest, Conflict of Commitment, and Outside Activities training.

Some of the highlights from the new policy include:

Prior Approval Requirement: All full-time faculty and exempt staff must obtain prior approval for compensated outside activities and most board service. The requirement also applies to part-time faculty and staff, however, part-time employees only have to seek prior approval if, in their sole discretion, the activity creates the reasonable appearance of a conflict.

Disclosure/Public Display Requirement: Additionally, all full-time faculty and exempt staff must disclose, on an ongoing basis, certain financial interests (gifts over $250, substantial interests in business entities, and certain family member outside activities and interests) within thirty (30) days of acquiring the interest if, in the employee's sole discretion, the interest could reasonably appear to create a conflict of interest. This requirement also applies to part-time employees; however, part-time employees never have to disclose interests/activities of immediate family members.

Faculty Activities Done on UTMB Time: IHOP 6.5.3 implements a provision that allows faculty flexibility to engage in an average of twenty-six (26) days per year of UTMB time on approved outside activities that either a) clearly contribute to UTMB's mission or b) provide important elements of faculty development related to their institutional duties and responsibilities.

Dollar Limits Above Which There is a Reasonable Appearance of a Conflict: IHOP 6.5.3 creates an upper threshold for the amount that can be made per day and per calendar year on compensated outside activities.

Daily: Employees may not accept more than $5,000 in income in the form of compensation for services lasting one (1) day, $10,000 for services lasting two (2) days, or $15,000 for services lasting three (3) or more days, per event, per entity.

Yearly: Employees can earn no more than the equivalent of 50% of their institutional base salary in compensation from outside activities in a given year. Of this yearly compensation, an employee may earn no more than 25% of their institutional base salary from a single entity.

NOTE: these dollar limits apply only to entities and activities that reasonably appear to relate to your institutional activities.

If you have any questions, please contact the Conflict of Interest Office at coi.in@utmb.edu.

The Prior Approval component of 6.5.3 - Individual Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities requires certain UTMB employees to obtain prior approval before engaging in an outside activity.

 

Who has to get prior approval?

    1. Full-time faculty
    2. Full-time exempt staff
    3. Full-time nurses (except LVNs and nurse assistants)
    4. Full-time nonexempt staff who are authorized to execute contracts on behalf of UTMB or have authority to exercise financial discretion
    5. Part-time faculty - only if the activity reasonably appears to create a COI.
    6. Part-time exempt staff - only if the activity reasonably appears to create a COI.
    7. Part-time nurses - only if the activity reasonably appears to create a COI.

 

What requires prior approval?

  1. All outside employment or other compensated activity
    • Ex: salary, retainer, honoraria, IP rights/royalties, deferred comp.
    • Ex: sponsored travel or reimbursement from private entities.
  2. Service on outside boards
    • If compensated; or
    • If uncompensated, nonreligious in nature, does not contribute to mission of UTMB.
  3. Any uncompensated activity that reasonably appears to create a COI or COC
  4. ANY activity or service on a non-personal outside board that is requesting to be conducted during normal work hours (UTMB time).

 

What does not require prior approval?

  1. Activities that clearly contribute to the mission of UTMB or are important to faculty/staff development
    • Ex: academic or scholarly in nature; higher education; professional society; state, local, federal gov't or institution of higher education
    • Ex: editor of scientific or scholarly journal or similar communications
  2. Personal board service
    • Ex: religious, neighborhood, school, youth sports, political organization
    • Must be conducted on employee's vacation time
  3. Uncompensated board service integral to the mission of UTMB
    • Ex: local, state, fed gov't; higher ed.; scholarly; scientific society

 

If you have any questions, please contact the Conflict of Interest Office at coi.in@utmb.edu.

 

The Disclosure component of the policy is retrospective in nature, while the Prior Approval component is prospective in nature.

The Disclosure component will require an employee to visit the UT System website and certify or approve the previous year's approved outside activities that have been updated within the UT System website.

Further, the Disclosure component requires an employee to actively disclose within thirty (30) days of the following:

  • A description, including the range of compensation or financial interest, of any substantial interest in a business entity that reasonably appears to create a conflict of interest (COI).
  • A description of gifts over $250 given to you or your immediate family members, but only if the gift reasonably appears to create a COI.
  • Any activity or substantial interest in a business entity of immediate family members that reasonably appears to create a COI.

If you have any questions, please contact the Conflict of Interest Office at coi.in@utmb.edu.

 

UTMB employees who are engaged in any type of research activity on campus are required not only to comply with IHOP 6.5.3 - Individual Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities, but must also adhere to the requirements especially for researchers set forth in IHOP 6.5.1 - Research Conflicts of Interest.

The Research Conflicts of Interest policy governs the manner and extent of education and training required, the disclosure of significant financial interests, the process of reviewing disclosure statements, the potential management of financial conflicts of interest, web posting of financial conflict of interest information, the appeals process, and other relevant topics.

Please see the Research COI webpage for additional information.

Please Note: Pursuant to federal regulation, those UTMB employees engaged in the design, conduct, or reporting of research related activities are required to re-take training in order to ensure compliance with federal law. The revised training will incorporate the relevant aspects of the new policy - IHOP 6.5.3 - Individual Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities. We will offer in-person training sessions as well as an online option.

Please see the Training and Education webpage for additional information.

If you have any questions, please contact the Conflict of Interest Office at coi.in@utmb.edu.

 

Click the link below for text of the full policy -

IHOP 6.5.3 Individual Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities

If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, please submit it to the Conflict of Interest Office at coi.in@utmb.edu.