Office of the Provost

Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment

Other Policies Relevant to Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment -- A supplement to the procedures for Standard Practice Guide 201.65-1, Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment

The University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guide 201.65-1 Conflicts of Commitment and Conflicts of Commitment operates in conjunction with the following state law and University policies, as well as with unit policies and with other relevant federal and state law and University policies not listed here.

I. State of Michigan Statute

A. State of Michigan Statute (P.A. 317 of 1968 State of Michigan Conflict of Interest Law )

The State of Michigan Conflict of Interest Law is set forth as Public Act 317 of 1968, as amended by Public Act 81 of 1984. The State Conflict of Interest Law prevents University employees, or enterprises in which they hold a stipulated interest, from contracting with the University without the explicit approval of the Board of Regents. To obtain such approval, the University employee must disclose any pecuniary interest in the contract, and the Regents must approve the contract by a vote of not less than two-thirds of the full Board membership in open session. The terms of the contract must be disclosed in the official minutes of the Board of Regents, including duration, financial consideration between parties, facilities and services of the University included in the contract, and the nature and degree of the assignment of the University employee for fulfillment of the contract.

II. Regents’ Bylaws

A. Regents’ Bylaw 1.13 Business Transactions

Governs University compensation to Regents and University officers.

B. Regents’ Bylaw 1.14 Regental and Executive/Senior Officer Conflict of Interest Policy

Describes when a Regent or executive/senior officer is considered to have a conflict of interest and the steps he or she must take in that event. The Bylaw is in addition to any obligations imposed on a Regent or executive/senior officer by state law (P.A. 1968, Nos. 317 and 318, as amended).

C. Regents’ Bylaw 2.16 Gifts to Regents and University Employees

Prohibits individual Regents and University employees from accepting gifts of substantial value from a student enrolled in the University, from any person having business relations with the University, or on the basis of the Regent’s or employee’s position at the University.

D. Regents’ Bylaw 3.10 Ownership of Patents, Copyrights, Computer Software, Property Rights, and Other

Describes the general guidelines under which ownership for patents, copyrights, computer software, or property rights accrue to the University; to the inventor, author, or creator; or to the University and the inventor, author, or creator by agreement.

E. Regents’ Bylaw 5.12 Outside Employment

Governs permissible outside employment of full-time faculty members. The Bylaw states, “Each of the governing faculties of the University shall formulate for the guidance of its administrative officers such regulations, appropriate to the fields represented by it, as it may consider necessary to give effect to the general policy defined herein.”

The governing faculties of the University may formulate regulations appropriate to the fields those faculties represent to provide guidance to its administrative officers in the implementation of this policy.

F. Regents’ Bylaw 5.13 Governmental Activities

Describes University policy on University staff members’ holding public office (either elective or appointive).

III. University Standard Practice Guides (SPG)

A. SPG 201.23 Appointment of Relatives or Others with Close Personal or External Business Relationships; Procedures to Assure Equal Opportunity and to Avoid the Possibility of Favoritism (Nepotism)

Describes University policy on appointment of individuals with close personal or external business relationships and procedures to assure equal opportunity and to avoid the possibility of favoritism.

B. SPG 201.65-0 Employment Outside the University

Permits University employees “to be employed outside the University,” but provides that “the outside employment must not detract from the performance of the duties and responsibilities of the University position, nor may it create a conflict of interest. The use of official position and influence to further inappropriate personal gain or that of families or associates is considered to be unacceptable behavior and in direct opposition to University policy. In a community as diverse and complex as the University, there is always the possibility that the pursuit of individual interests may result in a conflict with those of the University. This places an important responsibility on faculty and staff to recognize potential conflicts and prevent them.

C. SPG 201.85 Non-Appointment Related University Compensation

Governs payment of “special stipends,” which are defined as compensation to eligible University staff members who provide additional non-recurring services outside of their regular work schedule or assignment, the payment of honoraria, or the payment of moving and travel expenses in accordance with University policy, and generally limits dean or director approval of special stipends to no more than four days in any calendar month.

D. SPG 303.01 Implementation of Regents’ Policy Concerning Research Grants, Contracts, and Agreements

Establishes implementation SPG guidelines for the acceptability of restrictions on openness in research grants, contracts, and agreements. Faculty members and staff members must not enter into agreements that include a priori limitations on publications of research results, unless approved beforehand by the University. Project agreements that have publication restrictions that violate University policy are subject to the PAF-R process before they can be accepted (see

E. SPG 303.03 Policy Statement on the Integrity of Scholarship and Procedures for Investigating Allegations of Misconduct in the Pursuit of Scholarship and Research

Defines serious academic misconduct and establishes a procedure for investigating and reporting allegations of misconduct.

F. SPG 303.04 Revised Policy on Intellectual Properties: Including Their Disclosure, Commercialization, and Distribution of Revenues from Royalties and Sale of Equity Interests

Amplifies Regents’ Bylaw 3.10, which speaks to the objectives of the University’s technology transfer/intellectual property development activities. (See also Regents’ Bylaw 3.10 Ownership of Patents, Copyrights, Computer Software, Property Rights, and Other.)

G. SPG 507.01 General Policy and Procedures [Issued by Purchasing]

Explains the responsibility of each member of the University staff and of the Purchasing Department to ensure that the University does not knowingly enter into a purchase commitment that could result in a conflict of interest. See Section IV, “Ethics, Confidentiality, and Conflict of Interest.”

H. SPG 520.01 Acquisition, Use and Disposition of Property (Exclusive of Real Property) [Issued by Property Control Office]

Prohibits use of property acquired by and used in the University for University-supported activities for personal, for-profit activities or illegal activities.

I. SPG 601.28 Ownership of Copyrighted Works Created at or in Affiliation with the University of Michigan

Copyright includes a bundle of rights—including rights to ownership, reproduction or copying, preparation of derivative works, distribution, public display, and public performance. This policy sets forth general principles regarding this bundle of rights in the University context.

IV. Sponsored Projects Policies

Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Projects and Technology Transfer

When a faculty researcher on a proposed sponsored project, a member of his or her immediate family, or any key investigator has a significant financial or management interest in a sponsored project, he or she must process a disclosure using the M-Inform disclosure system on Wolverine Access. Learn more about the outsider interest disclosure process at

When technology transfer is involved, the faculty researcher must file a disclosure with the Office of Technology Transfer at the time a licensee is identified. Designated faculty committees review such disclosures to determine whether a conflict of interest exists and, if so, whether the conflict of interest can be managed. The committees develop conflict of interest management plans and recommend Regental action when required. The disclosure form and the policy itself are available on the UM Research web site. School and college policies may also require additional disclosures.