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Conflict of Interest (COI)

The University of Michigan defines an individual or personal conflict of interest (COI) as:

a situation where a faculty or staff member is in a position to influence the business, research, or other decisions of the University in relationship to an outside organization that could lead directly or indirectly to financial gain for that individual or the family of that individual, or give improper advantage to others to the detriment of the University.

About the COI Research Compliance Program 

U-M follows several federal, state, and University policies and guidelines that govern outside interest disclosure and the management of individual or personal conflicts of interest (COI) and conflict of commitments (COC) for research.   The COI research compliance program provides oversight of and the procedural structure for outside interest disclosure, review of potential conflicts of interest, and management of identified conflicts.

COI Committees

U-M Conflict of Interest Committees review individual disclosures that report an outside interest or activity to determine whether the financial or management interest could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of research. If a potential or actual conflict of interest related to the research or technology transfer is found, the committee works with the faculty or staff member (and the university regents, when applicable) to eliminate, minimize, or manage the conflict. There are two university COI Committees:

  • UMORCOI reviews faculty and staff disclosures for the Ann Arbor (except Medical School and Health System), Flint, and Dearborn campuses
  • MEDCOI reviews faculty and staff Medical School and Health System (U-M login required for link)

The goal of a committee's conflict of interest review is to ensure that the personal interests of an individual do not unduly influence their primary obligations to the science, sponsor, university, colleagues or students.

Roles & Responsibilities

As a U-M faculty or staff member you are expected to comply with the university's COI policies and your unit's COI/COC plan (see COI Policies) by annually disclosing any outside interests related to your university job responsibilities, and disclosing any changes to outside interest within 30 days.

If a COI Committee determines a potential or actual conflict of interest exists, you are expected to:

  • Respond promptly to follow-up questions 
  • Review and take action on a COI management plan
  • Complete an annual review of the conflict situation 


Who do I contact for help?

  • For questions about COI policy, outside interest disclosure, COI review and management processes, email
  • For questions about using M-Inform, the University's Outside Interest & COI Management system, contact the ITS Service Center by phone, email, or online service request