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Outside Interest Disclosure Process

As a researcher at the University of Michigan, you are expected to disclose any financial or management interest in an outside company or other entity as it relates to your employment. Your disclosure ensures that you and U-M are compliant with the federal and state regulations designed to safeguard objectivity in research.

The University’s annual disclosure review begins July 1 with each new fiscal year.

Using M-Inform

The M-Inform Disclosure System is the university’s online outside interest disclosure system. As an employee, you use this system to complete and submit the disclosure form(s). This may include reporting that you do not have outside interests related to your employment or reporting an interest in more than one entity.

Each disclosure is reviewed by your unit and, if applicable, by a U-M Conflict of Interest review committee (UMOR-COI or MED-COI) 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 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.


An outside interest, activity or relationship may consist of:

  • Paid or unpaid activities for, and relationships with, an external entity that utilize the same skills and knowledge associated with your U-M job responsibilities. (This does not apply to professional society memberships.)
  • Ownership in a company or business, including equity, stock, or stock options
  • Intellectual property rights or interests, including license and option agreements made through the Office of Technology Transfer for technology, etc. developed at U-M, and non-UM patents, copyrights, and royalties
  • Compensation, loans, or items of value received from external entities for activity related to you U-M job responsibilities (not including student loans)
  • Travel expenses that are reimbursed to you or paid directly by an external entity, as required by PHS regulations and/or your unit's COI policy

References and Resources


Unit Assistant (discloser proxy)

Unit Reviewers

Unit Administrators

  • Maintaining Department Information in M-Inform Instructions to assign M-Inform roles (e.g., unit reviewers of outside interests for the unit or an individual) and send M-Inform reminder emails to disclose to individuals.
  • M-Inform Disclosure Questions (Sample)

    [PDF] Updated 06/17/19 to reflect the FY20 changes M-Inform.  Use this resource to assist disclosers in your unit.  DO NOT use to submit disclosure information.


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)
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