Definitions of COI Terms

For the purposes of this report, academic supervision is described as the relationship between students and those who teach, serve as academic or thesis advisors, serve on thesis committees, or otherwise hold positions of authority in regard to students. This relationship, with its inherent power differential, must be conducted in a manner that avoids potential conflicts of interest, exploitation, or personal bias.

A person who is authorized to act on behalf of another to create a legal relationship with a third party.

For the purposes of this report, compensation refers to the process of exchanging monetary value for work performed. See the report for specific exclusions.

Measures taken to address the risk of bias or the appearance of bias, protect research subjects, and maintain public trust in the institution's research and its personnel when research personnel may have a real or apparent financial Conflict of Interest.

When an employee of the university engages in an outside activity that burdens or interferes with their fulfillment of primary commitments and obligations to the university, even if the outside activity is valuable to the university or contributes to their professional development and competence.

Consulting by faculty members is the use of scholarly expertise for the benefit of organizations outside the scholarly community in return for some sort of compensation. Consulting is distinguished from voluntary activities, activities which are scholarly or creative, from public service, and from outside activities which are unrelated to the area of scholarly expertise.

CTL is a service unit of the university charged with the responsibility to manage Cornell intellectual property created by Cornell University's faculty and staff and owned by the university or by the Cornell Research Foundation. CTL is responsible for obtaining appropriate patent, trademark, or copyright protection on such intellectual property, while concurrently licensing the intellectual property to appropriate commercial partners to advance the university's overall missions for the greatest public good.

For the purposes of this report, Cornell duties include research, extension, teaching, outreach, and administrative responsibilities.

A corporation is chartered by the state in which it is headquartered and is considered by law to be separate and apart from those who own it. A corporation can be sued; it can be taxed; it can enter into contractual agreements.

Oversight, decision-making, or participation in research that includes: creating the structure, roles, and/or protocol of a research project; participating in the execution of the research roles and protocol; participating and decision making in the publishing or presentation of the research results.

Oversight or decision-making impacting research that includes: selection of vendors, determining the allocation of funds, sponsor negotiations for the research project, protocol review and approval, or managing resulting intellectual property and licensing opportunities.

To provide relevant information about research personnel's financial interests related to a research project to parties inside and outside the institution to assure full awareness of potential conflicts and institutional efforts to address them. Compare with Report.

Bonds, publicly traded stocks or stock options; privately held stocks or stock options; convertible securities; warranties (i.e., promise of funds upon a demonstration of need); interest in real or personal property; dividends, royalties, profit sharing, capital gains; legal partnerships or other ownership interests. Equity does not include mutual fund interests or stocks held through any non self-directed 403B, 401K, IRA, or other retirement accounts.

An obligation or activity (e.g., management, employment, advisory, or consulting role) that is not related to primary commitments or obligations to the university.

An entity other than the university.

The Cornell Bylaws, Art. XVI, include the following titles: university professor, professor, associate professor, assistant professor, clinical professor, associate clinical professor, assistant clinical professor, instructor, senior scholar, senior scientist, research scientist, principal research scientist, senior research associate, senior extension associate, senior lecturer, professional librarian or archivist, research associate, extension associate, postdoctoral associate, postdoctoral fellow, lecturer, and teaching associate.

Spouse or same-sex partner, and dependent children.

A Real Financial Conflict of Interest arises when a financial interest, or other opportunity for personal financial gain, is likely to compromise or influence the objective design, conduct, reporting, or direct administration of research. An Apparent Conflict of Interest arises when there is a reasonable apprehension, which reasonably well-informed persons are likely to have, that an individual's opportunity for personal financial gain could compromise or influence the design, conduct, reporting, or direct administration of research.

A monetary interest or relationship excluding stock owned through mutual funds or reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, including, but not limited to: compensation for management, advisory, or consulting roles; gifts, services, loans; payments or in-kind gifts for services; licensing, patent, royalty, and other intellectual property agreements; equity interests (e.g., stocks, stock options, bonds, property interests, dividends, convertible securities); and legal partnership interests. 

EXCLUSIONS from Financial Interest

  • Income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the Investigator does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles;
  • Income from seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state or local government agency, an Institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an Institution of higher education; or
  • Income from service on advisory committees or review panels for a federal, state or local government agency, Institution of higher education as defied at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an Institution of higher education.

A systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge, involving a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting the research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information.

The IRB for Human Participants ensures the protection of human participants as subjects of research at Cornell University. The IRB has the authority to review, approve, disapprove or require changes in research or related activities involving human participants.

Any individuals responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of a research study, including:
For sponsored research: (1) Principal investigators, co-principal investigators, co-investigators, and any other individual named in a sponsored project budget, narrative, key personnel list, by CV attachment, or noted anywhere else by name in a proposal or award; and (2) Anyone who during the course of a sponsored project assumes a role synonymous with the roles above.
For non-sponsored research: Those whose role on the research project is synonymous with the roles described above.
For IRB protocols: Principal investigators and co-investigators.

Measures taken to address the risk of bias or the appearance of bias, protect research subjects, and maintain public trust in the institution's research and its personnel when research personnel may have a real or apparent financial Conflict of Interest.

The pursuit of professional interests through research that is supported by university funds including, but not limited to, internal allocations, gifts, endowment income, fellowships, licensing income, and cost sharing.

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) oversees the pre- and post-award non-financial administration of sponsored research, extension, and instructional programs at Cornell. OSP facilitates the application, acceptance, and administration of sponsored awards through review and endorsement of proposals, negotiation and acceptance of awards, and issuance of subcontracts.

A partnership is a type of business entity in which partners (owners) share with each other the profits or losses of the business.

To provide information to the university concerning one's external commitments and financial interests. Compare with Disclose.

Information submitted on a report, and any pertinent information gathered in relation to a report required for a complete review of external commitments and financial interests.

Research, for the purpose of  Cornell University Policy 1.7, Financial Conflict of Interest Related to Research, includes all sponsored projects, including research and extension, and all non-sponsored university research.

Any individual responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research, including key personnel, as well as those responsible for the direct administration of research.

An external commitment or financial interest that could potentially bias the outcome of research.

A person who meets the Cornell-Ithaca definition of same-sex partner and whose partner has registered that relationship with the university in order to obtain benefits.

Books and chapters in books, articles in peer-reviewed journals, articles in association and trade journals, reports, and/or teaching materials.

SFI is defined as:

  • Significant Equity Interest: For a publicly held business, an equity interest that when aggregated for the reporter and his/her family (as defined in the procedures for each campus) exceeds the Public Health Service (PHS) threshold, currently: (i) $5,000 in value as determined through reference to public prices or other reasonable measures of fair market value, or (ii) representing five percent ownership in such business. For a privately held business, any equity interest in such business, regardless of the amount. 

And/or

  • Significant Financial Income: Payments or anything of monetary value (including the value of an equity interest) from a single entity that when aggregated for the reporter and his/her family (as defined in the procedures for each campus) for the past 12 months or expected over the next 12 months, exceeds the PHS threshold, currently $5,000. 


EXCLUSIONS from Significant Financial Interest (SFI)

  • Income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the Investigator does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles;
  • Income from seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state or local government agency, an Institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an Institution of higher education; or
  • Income from service on advisory committees or review panels for a federal, state or local government agency, Institution of higher education as defied at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an Institution of higher education.

A business owned by one individual, and where there is no distinction between the owner and the business. A sole proprietor owns all the assets of the business and also all the debts and liabilities.

An external entity that funds or supports research. Sponsors include federal, state and local governments and private entities, both non-profit and for profit.

Research funded by a sponsor through a grant, contract, or agreement.

A department, research center, institute, program, business service center, office, or other operating entity of the university.

A chair, director, or administrative lead in an operating unit of the university.

Your spouse/same-sex partner, and dependent child(ren)