Outside activities may create or appear to create a conflict if they overlap with individual or institutional responsibilities when including a financial interest.
A financial interest can be anything of monetary value, whether the value is readily ascertainable, which is held by an individual, their family or a business entity they own, control or direct. Financial interests are present in almost all outside activities and can vary in levels of complexity and formalities.
A significant financial interest (SFI) is a financial interest consisting of one or more of the following interests of the individual and members of the immediate family (parents, spouse, children) that reasonably appears to be related to the individual’s institutional responsibilities.
- Compensation received or anticipated from any publicly traded entity in a 12-month period (including salary, consulting fees, honoraria, and paid authorship) and the value, of any equity interest in that entity (including any stock, stock options, or other ownership interests) as of the date of disclosure exceeding $5,000; or an equity interest in such an entity that exceeds 5% ownership interest.
- Compensation received or anticipated from a non-publicly traded entity in a 12-month period exceeding $5,000, or any equity interest in such an entity.
- Compensation received or anticipated from intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, trademarks, textbook royalties, etc.) in excess of $5,000 in a 12-month period.
- Holding a management position or serving as an officer or board member in any outside entity.
A financial conflict of interest means a significant financial interest that could directly and significantly affect one’s University responsibilities, including the design, conduct, or reporting of research.
Additional requirements related to outside interest disclosures for employees working within a research capacity exist. Please see the “Research Interests” page for information.
Significant financial interests do not include:
- salary or supplemental payments from the University of Tennessee
- income from service on advisory committees or review panels and from seminars, lectures, or non-promotional engagements sponsored by governmental or non-profit entities
- income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts.
Examples of SFI’s that may create a conflict
These examples are provided as guidance and do not represent a complete list of potential or real SFI’s that may be encountered.
- A member of a purchasing unit serves as an officer, director, or in any other management capacity for a company or organization doing or seeking to do business with the University.
- A researcher owns $50,000 in stock with a publicly traded pharmaceutical company and submits a proposal for grant funding with this company.
Examples of financial interest that may not create a conflict
- Employee sells handmade jewelry at the local farmer’s market on the weekends.
- Employee receives compensation from seminars or lectures at a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, ORNL, Y-12, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education (none of which are foreign governments, foreign institutions of higher education, foreign entities, or other foreign organizations, affiliations, or agencies).
- If travel is reimbursed or sponsored by the University, a Federal, state, or local government agency, an U.S. institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education (none of which are foreign governments, foreign institutions of higher education, foreign entities, or other foreign organizations, affiliations, or agencies).