If you have a conflict of interest-related concern, or if someone has reported a COI concern affecting you, you will find information on this page about your options to resolve it. We encourage you to report any concerns promptly.
Cornell's COI policies and procedures are designed to ensure that the integrity of Cornell research is preserved by eliminating any reasonable doubts that the research results are biased by financial self-interests, while also protecting the academic freedom and best interests of students, faculty and staff. Part of this responsibility is to address any COI-related concerns.
Examples of COI-related concerns
- Cornell resources (lab, equipment, space, people) are being used to conduct personal business with an outside company
- A student's research is being directed away from their dissertation topic, or they are being asked to perform work related to someone’s personal business instead of their own research
- Research data is being manipulated to suit the interests of an outside company
- Company personnel are visiting lab spaces or have access to research that seems inappropriate or excessive
What can I do if I have a COI-related concern?
If you are comfortable doing so, you should discuss your concerns with the person involved, and attempt to resolve them together. If you don’t feel safe or comfortable doing so, or if your concerns are not resolved by the discussion, it may be time to seek other advice:
- Discuss the situation with your supervisor (if it is not the same person about whom you have a concern) or the HR representative for your unit/college
- If you are a graduate student, consult with your Director of Graduate Studies or the Chair of your Special Committee
- If your concern involves someone with a conflict management plan in place, speak to the Conflict Manager (usually the department Chair)
- Contact the COI office
If none of these options is practical for you, consider reporting your concern via the Cornell EthicsPoint hotline (1-866-293-3077) or through the EthicsPoint website. If you report a concern to EthicsPoint, you should include enough information for an investigation to be conducted; also, you will need to specify how you would like to be involved. The appropriate university officials will be notified, and will work with you to address your concern. All concerns that are reported to EthicsPoint are kept confidential; you may also choose to report anonymously.
Cornell is committed to protecting the reputation and confidentiality of individuals who report ethical concerns, and will take all appropriate steps to do so. All reported concerns are handled in accordance with the Cornell University Policy 4.6 on Standards of Ethical Conduct.