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Outside Interest Disclosure Process

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Overview of Changes

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As a researcher at the University of Michigan, you are expected to report (i.e., disclose) any outside activity, relationship, or interest ("outside activity") with an external entity (e.g, company, organization, etc.) to U-M for a conflict of interest (COI) review by a COI Office. Your outside activity disclosure ensures that you and U-M are compliant with the federal and state regulations designed to safeguard objectivity in research.

Calendar July FirstThe University’s annual disclosure process begins July 1 with each new fiscal year.  Complete the annual process in M-Inform beginning July 1, but update your disclosures within 30 days of any changes thereafter. 

Using M-Inform

M-Inform is the university’s online outside interest disclosure system. M-Inform is an eResearch system supported by ITS.  As an employee, you use this system to complete and submit the disclosure form(s) on, at least, an annual basis.

Blue info iconDisclosing may include reporting that you do not have outside activities or reporting outside activities with more than one external entity.

Each disclosure is reviewed by your unit and, if applicable, by a U-M Conflict of Interest review committee (UMORCOI or MEDCOI) to ensure compliance with federal, state, and university policies.  If a conflict of interest is identified upon review, the COI committee works with you to manage the conflict to mitigate the impact on your research.

COI Attestation Process in the eResearch Applications

As a Principal Investigator (PI) or a study team member, completing a conflict of interest statement is a required part of the eResearch processes to:

  • Submit applications for sponsored funding proposals via the proposal approval form (PAF)
  • Accept a study team role on, or submit IRB applications for, human subjects studies (HUMs)
  • Approve draft subcontract (SUBK) agreements
  • Submit unfunded agreements (e.g., material transfers) related to proposals or awarded projects

This attestation is not equivalent to completing an outside interest disclosure in M-Inform. In eResearch applications you will see text reminding you to disclose any outside interests related to the research activity.

The eResearch IRB application (HUM) is integrated with M-Inform in that the U-M PI or study team member sees their disclosure status and a link to M-Inform as part of the COI statement. Per U-M and HRPP policies, you are required to disclose in M-Inform if you have an outside interest related to the HUM and you do not have a current disclosure in M-Inform. If you have a current disclosure in M-Inform, you are expected to update that disclosure when an outside interest applies to a new HUM; or amend an active HUM (and your current disclosure) when a new related outside interest arises or a change occurs to an existing related outside interest. See the Discloser procedures for instructions.

FAQs

Outside activities, relationships, or interests ("outside activities") are certain personal, professional, commercial, or financial endeavors you undertake with an entity/organization external to U-M in which you utilize the same professional expertise, service, or knowledge you provide to U-M, and which are not a part of a U-M administered research project.

Outside activities generally fall into five categories:

  • Activities and relationships (paid or unpaid) 
  • International engagements
  • Intellectual property (IP) 
  • Ownership interest (equity, stock, or stock options)
  • Payments, loans, and reimbursements

Within each category there are specific activities, relationships, and interests you should and should not disclose to U-M.  For details, see the Outside Activity Disclosure Guidance.

References and Resources

  • M-Inform Disclosure Questions (Sample)

    [PDF] Sample of the M-Inform disclosure form as of July 1, 2020, displaying the pages, questions and conditional sub-questions one may see when reporting a new outside activity.  Use this resource to assist disclosers in your unit become oriented to M-Inform.  DO NOT use to submit disclosure information.  Last updated 06/29/2020. 

Disclosers

  • Outside Activity Disclosure Guidance

    Lists the types of activities, relationships, and interests that investigators at the University of Michigan should and should not disclose as an outside interest in M-Inform.  Last Updated: 05/26/2020.

  • Submit an Outside Interest Disclosure in M-Inform Instructions to add a new oustide activity disclosure to M-Inform, edit previous disclosures, remove outside activity disclosures, and restore previously inactive outside activity disclosures.  (ITS) Last Updated:  06/29/20.

Unit Assistant (discloser proxy)

Unit Reviewers

  • Review an Outside Interest Disclosure in M-Inform M-Inform instructions to review outside activity disclosures on behalf of the discloser's U-M unit, division, or department.  (ITS) Last Updated: 06/29/20.
  • Reviewer Demonstration Video demonstration with audio of the Unit Reviewer Action Center in M-Inform, including the Reviewer workspace, tabs, and functions (e.g., approve/return a disclosure, send reminder emails) (5:02).  Last updated: 06/25/2020.
  • U-M Reviewers: Points to Consider

    [PDF] U-M guidelines and tips for those who review outside interest disclosures for their unit.  Last updated: 06/22/20.

Unit Administrators

  • Maintaining Department Information in M-Inform Instructions to assign M-Inform roles (e.g., unit reviewers of outside activities disclosures for the unit, division, department, or an individual) and send M-Inform reminder emails to disclose to individuals. (ITS) Last Updated: 06/29/20.

Questions?

Who do I contact for help?

Check with your unit's administration about unit-specific policies, requirements for outside interest disclosure, and M-Inform role assignments (e.g., unit reviewer).

If you need help using the M-Inform system, contact the ITS Service Center:

4-HELP (734-764-4357)
4HELP@umich.edu
Online service request (login required) 

If you have questions about COI policy, outside interest disclosure requirements and review processes (including reviewer assignments), and COI management processes, email COI.Support@umich.edu.