The creation, implementation, and enforcement of effective conflict of interest management plans is a foundational component of a robust research enterprise. Pursuant to Regents’ Rule 90101: Intellectual Property, research conflict of interest management plans must be created, implemented, and enforced as set forth in this document. Please note that this document is supplemental to, and not a replacement for, requirements found in applicable laws, regulations, Regents’ Rules, and UT System Policies.
Approval Process for Plan to Manage Potential Conflicts of Interest
Texas Education Code Section 51.912 requires that the Board approve an employee's business participation in a company that licenses or otherwise has been granted rights to Board intellectual property. The Regents' Rule 90101: Intellectual Property delegates this authority to each member institution President or designee and requires compliance with these procedures. To assure that appropriate steps are taken in each case to minimize the likelihood of conflicts of interest, the following steps should be followed:
- Approval and execution of the transaction document. Any agreement that raises potential conflicts should be approved and executed in advance, in accordance with the procedures that apply to all sponsorship, license, and option agreements.
- Employee Certification. Employees must indicate to their President or designee by a written document:
-- that they have read and understood this procedure and the institutional plan;
-- that they have disclosed and will continue to disclose their financial interests and business participation, as required by law;
-- whether any mitigating factors apply; and
-- the steps they will take to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of actual conflicts of interest.
- Institutional Certification. The employee's institution must indicate to their President or designee by a written document:
-- the component institution's and the employee's names;
-- basic details of the associated transaction, if any;
-- whether the associated agreement contains standard liability safeguards (e.g. warranties and indemnifications);
-- any previous and related institution transactions;
-- all relevant dates;
-- a clear and concise summary of those aspects of the related transaction that raise potential conflicts of interest (i.e. details of equity and/or business participation in a company by a faculty member or the Board);
-- mitigating factors, if any; and
-- the steps the institution will take to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of actual conflicts of interest.
- Approval of Conflict Management Plan. Upon receipt of the employee's and institution's certifications, the institution's President or designee will approve the plan to manage potential conflicts of interest.
- Required Disclosure. The employee and institution must disclose potential conflicts of interest, both financial interests and participation in the company (that has been granted rights to Board intellectual property) as an employee, officer, or director, in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws, and the Regents' Rules and Regulations.
Submitting a Conflict of Interest Management Plan to UT System for Approval
UT System approval of institutional conflict of interest management plans is rare. However, a conflict of interest management plan should be submitted to the UT System Office of General Counsel in circumstances where:
- The conflict of interest involves an institutional President;
- An underlying transaction with a value above an institution’s approval threshold must go to the Board of Regents for approval and the transaction involves a conflict of interest and a resultant management plan; or
- A conflict of interest management plan is of such significance as to require the prior approval of the Board of Regents.