Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment FAQs

This page provides answers to common COI/COC questions regarding sponsored research, technology commercialization, and related activites at Auburn University, AUM, AAES, and ACES.  Additional FAQ resources are available on The Division of Institutional Compliance & Privacy FAQ website

If you still have questions after reviewing the FAQs, please email or call 334-844-8601

No. You should complete one COI/COC questionnaire annually and update it within 30 days of changes occurring.  If you discover a conflict with a specific research proposal that has not already been reported, you must update your COI/COC questionnaire before the proposal is submitted.

No.  Salary, royalties, or other remuneration paid by the University do not need to be disclosed.

Yes.  If you receive payment for travel that is related to your institutional responsibilities from an entity other than Auburn University, you must disclose that on your COI questionnaire in Question 1.

Yes, you should report all professional affiliations with foreign institutions of higher education, foreign governments, foreign companies, or foreign nationals in Question 3.

Yes. Travel funding provided by foreign governments, institutions, or organizations must be disclosed.  Domestic federal, state and local government funded travel does not have to be disclosed. Travel funding provided by United States institutions of higher education, academic medical centers and research institutions affiliated with academic institutions does not need to be disclosed.

Students participating in sponsored research, technology commercialization, or related activities may be required to complete the COI questionnaire.  Please email or call 334-844-8601 for assistance.

Public companies, like Wal-Mart, Ford and Coca-Cola, are those that sell stock to investors.  They are required to submit information to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), so they typically have the most information available to researchers.  Public companies are required to provide detailed financial statements and annual reports to stakeholders.  You'll also find a lot of information from news organizations, investment analysts, market research firms, and publishing companies.  Public company stock is openly traded, often on one of the large American stock exchanges (NASDAQ, NYSE).  So, if you can identify a stock ticker symbol, the company is public.

A searchable database of public companies is available here

Private companies, which do not sell stock to investors, are not required to provide information about their companies to anyone. As a result, they can be more difficult to research. If you find financial information, it is usually an estimate.  Estimates are sometimes generated based on the type of industry and number of employees.  The estimate could be very wrong!  If the private company has competitors that are public, you have a better chance of finding some information on the company.  Sometimes, all you will find are contact info and what they do.

No.  Completion of the Employee Conflict of Interest Disclosure fulfills the disclosure requirements of the Auburn University Conflict of Interest Policies and federal requirements involving sponsored research, technology commercialization, and related activities. Completion of this questionnaire will not fulfill the Alabama Ethics Commission’s requirement to file an annual Statement of Economic Interests.

Work or services performed on behalf of an entity other than Auburn University (AU, AUM, AAES, ACES), including activities undertaken for foreign governments, institutions, or entities.

No, do not list all the journals you publish in or review for, presentations at conferences or national meetings, or your participation/membership in professional organizations. If it is part of your Auburn University role where Auburn  benefits from your participation in these scholarly activities, then it is not “outside” activity.