Policy Conflict of Interest Procedure Appendix 1 - Examples of Conflict of Interest Situations

Appendix 1 - Examples of Conflict of Interest Situations

Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly


  • An academic staff member involved in teaching or assessing a student who is a relative, family or personal friend needs to disclose the relationship.
  • In academic research, situations in which financial or other personal considerations may compromise, or may have the appearance of compromising, an investigator’s professional judgment in conducting or reporting research. This can affect collection, analysis and interpretation of data, hiring of staff, procurement of materials, sharing of results, choice of protocol, and the use of statistical methods.
  • In the peer review and publication process, a conflict of interest may arise where an author, reviewer or editor allows personal conviction, financial interests, or personal relationships (of amity or enmity) to influence their decision making.
  • The teaching of students, or supervision of research students presents a conflict of interest where a sexual or romantic relationship exists or develops.
  • Human research by an investigator who has funding support creates, for research participants, additional risk for adverse consequences. Research participants must be recruited and treated with full protection of their personal rights and their right to ethical and impartial clinical or professional management. Disclosure of monies received should be made to research participants.
  • An investigator or research candidate has a private interest in an organisation providing funding support to the research project (or candidate), such as through a grant or scholarship.
  • A staff member conducts research or clinical trials sponsored by a company in which the staff member (or an associate) has a financial interest or holds an executive position.
  • A staff member receives gifts, gratuities, loans or special favours (including trips or speakers fees) from research sponsors or vendors.
  • A researcher or a member of their immediate family is a user of a community service being evaluated.
  • The researcher is an employee of the organisation the research will be commenting upon.
  • The researcher has affiliations or memberships (e.g. clubs, political parties, religious groups) that are pertinent to the research topic.
  • The researcher has a familial, personal, romantic or other relationship with research subjects or participants.

Outside Work/Commercial Activity

  • A conflict may arise in relation to the allocation of time, intellectual energy and primary professional commitment between University responsibilities and external activities.
  • Where a member of staff has multiple official roles (such as being an officer of the University and serving as the Director of a company controlled by the University). In these situations, a person may use information obtained in exercising one role to the advantage or disadvantage of another organisation in an improper way.
  • A staff member is the director of a company that the University is bidding with or is bidding against for contract research funds. The staff member may find it difficult to simultaneously meet their obligations as a director of a company and meet their obligations as a staff member to act in the best interests of the University at all times.
  • A staff member undertakes paid/unpaid outside work that impacts on their ability to fulfil their duties and obligations to the University.
  • A staff member tenders for and engages in consultancy work as an individual rather than as an University staff member: the work is the same as the work they are employed to perform and could have engaged in this work as a staff member but they did not obtain approval under the Staff External Professional Activities and Secondary Employment Procedure to undertake the work.
  • A staff member holds an equity interest or executive position in a start-up company that has a contractual arrangement with the University to conduct further research.


  • A staff member with decision making powers in relation to a tender offered by the University accepts a gift or hospitality from a person associated with a company which is tendering the work from the University.
  • A staff member or a member of their immediate family has a direct or indirect financial interest, or hold a directorship, in a company or other entity which supplies, or is likely to supply, goods and/or services to the University, or which operates in competition with the University.
  • A staff member takes part in assessing a tender application where he/she has, or has had, a personal relationship with a person or organisation that has submitted a tender application.
  • Selection as a University supplier by a staff member who has a personal or economic interest in that entity, this includes engaging a family member as an independent contractor, subcontractor or consultant.

Recruitment and Selection

  • A staff member with decision making powers over the employment of staff is involved in the selection process in which a relative is an applicant.
  • A staff member employs a family member or close associate to undertake sessional academic work or casual administrative work periods without undertaking any merit based selection process or disclosing the relationship.
  • A staff member with decision making powers over the selection for entry into University participates in the assessment of eligibility of a student with whom they have a close personal relationship.
  • A staff member with responsibility for selection, assessment or supervision of a student’s work also has a personal or family relationship with that student.
  • A staff member fails to declare a financial or private affiliation, partnership or engagement with a foreign government, political organisation, agency, university or individual which might impact on or influence their duties and obligations to the University.


  • A staff member uses information received as a University employee for personal purposes.
  • A staff member receives gifts, gratuities, loans or special favours (including trips or speakers fees) from research sponsors or vendors.
  • A staff member directly receives cash, services or equipment in support of their University activities from non-University sources.
  • A staff member holds equity, royalty or debt instrument interest, or their close associates, in an entity that provides financial support, including research or other support services, to the University, when such support will benefit staff or persons supervised, directly or indirectly, by them.
  • A staff member or close associate holds an interest, including ownership, in any real or personal property leased or purchased by the University.