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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Conflicts of Interest

SUNY Downstate Conflicts of Interest Policy and Conflict Management to Enable Academic and Industry Partnerships

As a public institute entrusted with public funds to carry out its research and educational missions, SUNY Downstate Medical Center (DMC) must ensure that its activities are conducted in an ethical, transparent, and bias-free environment to maintain the public trust. In conjunction with DMC's Code of Conduct and the SUNY/RF Standards of Review (below), the Conflict of Interest Policy was created to guide DMC Investigators in their everyday work, to outline required and prohibited conduct, and to provide guidance on how potential perceived or actual conflicts of interest can be managed so as to enable industry and commercial partnerships, which are essential to advance our missions.

The development of collaborative partnerships between academic research with external individuals and entities to enhance discoveries and their application to improve human health is a stated goal of SUNY, the Research Foundation of SUNY, and the National Institutes of Health. External entities may include other educational and research institutions or private businesses such as established companies or start-ups. While encouraged, outside activities may also create real, potential, or apparent conflicts of interest, any of which may harm or damage the reputation of the individual investigator or DMC and violate Public Officer's law. This Policy provides guidance for complying with the Federal revised regulation - Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which Public Health Service Funding is Sought and Responsible Contractors -while furthering the missions of DMC and the investigator. However, under this policy, the development of a license with the Office of Technology Transfer will require a review of potential conflicts that may emerge between academic and planned commercial research operations once the commercialized entity comes into existence.

DMC Investigators hold positions of trust and must act in the best interests of the public and DMC. A COI arises if personal financial relationships or activities interfere, or appear (could be perceived) to interfere, with the individual's ability to act in the public's and DMC's best interests. DMC Investigators are therefore obliged to redesign any activity that impairs or would reasonably appear to impair the individual's ability to perform his/her duties with independence and objectivity. Such redesign might include mechanisms for disclosure, transparency, and third party participation and oversight that would enable rather than curtail an activity.

The Financial Conflict of Interest Committee (FCOIC) of SUNY Downstate was created to review financial disclosures and research operations for significant perceived or actual conflict, and based on that, to develop Management Plans to mitigate any perceived or actual conflict so that collaborative partnerships such as those between academia and industry can flourish in ways that comply with Federal and State COI mandates. The FCOIC's mission is to review investigator's annual and transactional disclosures to determine whether perceived or actual conflict exists between the investigator's research and their financial interests. Where such an actual or perceived conflict is determined to exist, the FCOIC, in conjunction with the investigator, will create a mutually agreed-upon Management Plan which will strive to remove or mitigate the conflict by creating mechanisms for disclosure, transparency, and third party participation and oversight that would enable, rather than curtail or eliminate the activity itself. These Management Plans must be reviewed and monitored throughout the life of the research project and investigator's research period at DMC.


Read about the FCOIC, its composition and charge, and Management Plans »

Read Downstate's Conflicts of Interest Policy »


SUNY / Research Foundation Standards of Review *

  • As a SUNY/ RF/ DMC Employee, you must not make personal investments in organizations that you have reason to believe may be directly involved in or related to decisions made by you on behalf of SUNY/ RF/ DMC or will otherwise create substantial conflict between your duties on behalf of SUNY/ RF/ DMC and your private interest.
  • You may not represent SUNY/ RF/ DMC in any transaction with a business entity or organization if you or a Related Party has a financial or other Interest in that entity.
  • Procurement of goods or services on behalf of SUNY/ RF/ DMC must be consistent with SUNY/ RF/ DMC’s procurement policy.
  • You may not accept employment or engage in any business or professional activity that will impair the independence of your judgment in the exercise of your duties for SUNY/ RF/ DMC.
  • You may use confidential information gained in the course of your duties only in furtherance of your official SUNY/ RF/ DMC duties and you may not use SUNY/ RF/ DMC confidential information to further your personal interests or that of a Related Party. You cannot accept employment or engage in any outside business or professional activity that will require you to disclose SUNY/ RF/ DMC confidential information.
  • You cannot misappropriate the property, services or other resources of SUNY/ RF/ DMC – whether for yourself or someone else.
  • You may not, by your conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence you or unduly enjoy your favor in the performance of your duties, or that you are affected by the kinship, rank, position, or influence of any party or person.
  • You may not use, or attempt to use, your position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for yourself or others. Bribery, extortion, and other attempts to exert undue influence are strictly prohibited.
  • Acceptance or procurement of gifts may create a personal benefit. Employees cannot seek or accept any items or services if doing so will compromise or appear to compromise his or her ability to make objective and unbiased decisions in SUNY/ RF/ DMC’s best interest. The acceptance or procurement of any gift that violates NYS Public Officers Law Sections 73 and 74 is prohibited.


Additional links:

Research Foundation Policies and Procedures:

SUNY Policies and Procedures:


*Pursuant to the Research Foundation for the State University of New York ("RF") Conflict of Interest Policy.