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Revised Institutional Conflicts of Interest (ICOI) in Research Policy 

U-M executive officers approved a revised version of the Office of the President’s Policy for Institutional Conflicts of Interest in Research, effective July 1, 2018.  This revision, which incorporates and expands upon the previous ICOI policy for clinical trials, applies to all research.

What is an ICOI?

An institutional conflict of interest (ICOI) is where the university, as an institution, has a financial interest that has the potential to bias, or appear to bias, research conducted by university employees or students. 

As one example, when the university invests in a faculty start-up company that commercializes technology developed as a result of research at U-M and that start-up company, in turn, sponsors research at U-M, the university has a financial interest in the company that could potentially influence the conduct of the research.

Who identifies a potential ICOI?

Unlike individual conflicts of interest, where university employees disclose their relationships with external companies or organizations in M-Inform, potential ICOI situations are identified by the university’s central offices (e.g., Technology Transfer, University Development, ORSP) in the course of doing business.  U-M’s ICOI Committee reviews the potential institutional conflicts of interest to identify if an ICOI exists and to determine appropriate management.  The ICOI Committee will also act in an advisory role in non-research related conflict of interest situations.

How does ICOI impact individual researchers?

Investigators whose research may be impacted by an ICOI will be contacted directly by the ICOI Committee.  These investigators will be expected to review and take action on the ICOI management plan to reduce the potential bias.  This may include disclosing (i.e., informing others about) the university’s financial interest in the research to the study team, in publications, and/or in informed consent documentation.

Where can I get more information?

Learn more about ICOI and review the revised policy on the Institutional Conflicts of Interest (ICOI) webpage.  If you have questions, email the ICOI Committee at:

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