Conflict of Interest Reporting Supports KU’s Goals and Yours

Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, M.D.; Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Provost & Excutive Vice Chancellor; Simon Atkinson, Vice Chancellor for Research
Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, 2:46 p.m.
KU Lawrence staff, faculty and affiliates

Sent on behalf of Chancellor Douglas Girod, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, and Vice Chancellor for Research Simon Atkinson.

Dear Colleagues,

At KU, we discover, create, innovate, connect, educate, lead and transform lives through research, teaching and service. In an entrepreneurial community like ours — where we encourage employees to bring beneficial technologies to market via startup companies, disseminate knowledge by publishing books, accelerate discovery through collaboration with global partners, share expertise with outside entities as consultants and more — potential conflicts of interest are bound to arise.

The key to managing these situations with integrity is transparency.

This week, KU begins issuing annual conflict of interest certifications for fiscal year 2022. All KU faculty, unclassified academic and professional staff, and research-engaged affiliates will receive an email notice by Friday, Sept. 10, from

  • Staff with fractional appointments, such as part-time lecturers, are also required to submit COI certifications.
  • Annual COI reporting is an obligation of employment, per university policy, and will be enforced.
  • The deadline for submitting your online COI certification is Sept. 30, 2021.

We want you to be successful. University-wide strategic planning — through Jayhawks Rising — and within the Office of Research is focused on creating a culture that supports innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering new research opportunities and partnerships, and supporting faculty success and recognition. COI reporting helps clear the path to these goals. If the university determines that your disclosures could be perceived to conflict with your KU responsibilities, a review committee will work with you and your supervisor to create a management plan that supports your activities while preserving the highest standards of reliability and propriety.

Most of you will have nothing to disclose. KU sends at least 5,000 annual certification forms to university employees. Of those, about 90% fall into the nondisclosure category, and 10% report an outside interest. Less than 1% of the total number of certifications requires a written management plan.

Nevertheless, this process is mandated for all faculty and staff by federal regulations, state ethics statutes, and policies at the Kansas Board of Regents and KU levels for a reason: It protects our collective integrity. We all want to ensure that we are conducting research fairly, using university resources appropriately, stewarding public funds responsibly and prioritizing the best interests of our students.

By fulfilling your mandatory reporting obligations, you can ensure that you are meeting these standards while circumventing or limiting headaches and legal issues that could slow down your research and innovation.

The Office of Research hosted a campuswide virtual forum this morning to provide guidance. You can find a recording of that forum, helpful conflict of interest FAQs and other resources on the KU Research website, and staff in KU’s Research Integrity unit are available to provide assistance or training.

Thank you for taking time to understand and follow through on your responsibilities.


Doug, Barb and Simon

Douglas A. Girod


Barbara A. Bichelmeyer

Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

Simon Atkinson

Vice Chancellor for Research