Skip to main content

Office of the General Counsel

Hinman Box 6002
63 South Main St.; Suite 301
Hanover, NH 03755
Phone: 603-646-2444
Fax: 603-646-2447

Conflict of Interest


All decisions made in the course of their professional responsibilities by members of the Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty, and other employees of Dartmouth College (including the Professional Schools) are to be made solely on the basis of a desire to promote the best interests of the College. A potential conflict of interest occurs when an individual's personal or private interests might lead an independent observer reasonably to question whether the individual's professional actions or decisions are influenced by considerations of significant personal interest, financial or otherwise.

In the event that a Trustee, faculty member, administrator or other employee of the College shall have a significant financial, personal or professional interest that could potentially create a conflict of interest or the perception of one in any transaction involving the College or being considered by the Board of Trustees (including any committee of the Board) or College administrators and faculty (including any committee or other group of administrators or faculty), such person shall, as soon as he or she has knowledge of the transaction, take the following actions:

a. Disclosure. Disclose fully in writing the precise nature of his or her interest in such transaction to those at the College involved with the transaction, or to his or her Dean, Department Chairperson, Supervisor, or other independent responsible authority; and
b. Non-Participation. Refrain from participation (including acting individually or as a member of a committee or other group) in the College's consideration of the proposed transaction unless expressly permitted to do so by a responsible authority of the College.


For purposes of this policy:

"The College" shall mean all of Dartmouth College, including its three professional schools and affiliated organizations controlled by it (e.g. Dartmouth Educational Loan Corporation).

"Trustee" shall include any current Trustee and any active Trustee Emeritus serving on any committee of the Board of Trustees.

"Faculty member" shall include any person who has a faculty appointment with the College.

"Investigator" shall mean a principal investigator and any other person at the College who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research funded by any external governmental or private organization, or proposed for such funding.

"Externally sponsored activities" shall mean all sponsored activity administered through the Office of Sponsored Projects or the Technology Transfer Office.

"Significant financial interest" shall mean any direct or indirect interest with monetary value, including but not limited to:

a. salary, other payments for services (e.g., consulting fees or honoraria), royalties or other payments that, when aggregated for the individual and the individual's spouse and dependent children over the next twelve months, are expected to exceed $10,000;
b. equity interests (e.g. stocks, stock options or other ownership interests) that, when aggregated for the individual and the individual's spouse and dependent children, either exceeds $10,000 in value (as determined through reference to public prices) or represents more than five percent (5%) ownership interest in any single entity;
c. intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, copyrights and royalties from such rights).

The term "significant financial interest" does not include:

a. salary, royalties, or other remuneration from the College;
b. income from seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by US Federal, state, or local entities;
c. income from service on advisory committees or review panels for public or nonprofit entities.


Trustees and Certain Administrators

The following persons shall also disclose in writing to the Office of College Counsel on a continuing basis on disclosure forms provided by that Office all significant financial interests in non-Dartmouth business organizations and all affiliations as an officer, director, trustee, partner, employee, consultant, or agent of any organization other than Dartmouth College or the person's principal employer:

a. the Trustees (including the President);
b. the Provost, the Vice Presidents, the Treasurer, the Dean of the College, the Deans of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Professional Schools, and their respective principal financial officers;
c. department chairs;
d. administrators in the Purchasing Department, and senior administrators in the offices of the Vice Presidents and Sponsored Projects;
e. such other employees, as the President shall designate as being employees, from whom, because of their respective duties and responsibilities, the College should receive a continuing disclosure of such outside relationships and business affiliations.

Investigators Engaged in Externally-Sponsored Research

Investigators engaged in externally sponsored activity must, in accordance with Federal and College policy, disclose to the Director of Sponsored Projects on disclosure forms provided by the Director all significant financial interests (including those of their spouse and dependent children) that would reasonably appear to affect or be affected by the sponsored activity. Investigators may choose to disclose any other financial or related interest that could present an actual or perceived conflict of interest. Any such disclosure should provide sufficient detail to permit an accurate and objective evaluation. Such disclosure form must be completed and submitted before the contract or grant application is submitted, and the disclosure must be reviewed to determine if further action is required before the College's expends any awarded funds or issues a purchase order or subcontracts for the acquisition of goods and services related to that project.

Such disclosure forms must be updated at least annually or more frequently, if new reportable information is obtained during the period of an award.

If the Director of Sponsored Projects determines, after reviewing the disclosure form and other available information, that significant financial interests could affect the design, conduct or reporting of research activities, the Director shall refer the matter to a standing Conflict Review Committee, a subcommittee of the Council on Sponsored Activities comprised of senior faculty members from each of the four faculties, the Dean of the respective faculty, and the Director of Sponsored Projects as a non-voting ex-officio member. Following review of the matter, the Committee will recommend to the Associate Provost in writing (with a copy to the Investigator) one of the following actions:

a. Accept the proposed sponsored project;
b. Do not accept the proposed sponsored project;
c. Accept the proposed sponsored project provided certain conditions or restrictions are imposed so that the conflict will be managed, reduced or eliminated.

Examples of possible conditions or restrictions are:

  • monitoring of research by independent reviewers
  • public disclosure of significant financial interests
  • modification of the research plan
  • disqualification from participation in the portion of the sponsored funded research that would be affected by the significant financial interest
  • divestiture of significant financial interest
  • severance of relationships that create actual or potential conflicts

If the Investigator is dissatisfied with the Conflict Review Committee's recommendations, the Investigator may, within ten (10) calendar days of such recommendation, appeal to the Associate Provost who will consult with the faculty member and the Conflict Review Committee, as appropriate. After such review, the Associate Provost will make the final decision.

Collaborators/sub-recipients/subcontractors from other institutions involved in externally-sponsored research of the College must either comply with this policy or provide a certification from their institutions that they are in compliance with Federal policies regarding disclosure of conflicts of interests and that their portion of the project is in compliance with their institutional policies.


All persons subject to this policy are expected to comply fully and promptly with it. Instances of deliberate breach of policy, including failure to file or knowingly filing incomplete, erroneous, or misleading disclosure forms, violation of the guidelines, failure to comply with prescribed monitoring procedures, will be reported to the appropriate senior officer and, in the case of investigators also to the Associate Provost.

All known violations, disputes and other issues arising out of the application of this policy to employees shall be referred to the President for appropriate action. Matters under this policy concerning Trustees shall be reported to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for appropriate action.

In the event of non-compliance by an Investigator, the Associate Provost will consult with the Conflict Review Committee regarding possible sanctions to be imposed on an investigator that may include, but are not limited to:

a. Formal admonition,
b. A letter from the appropriate Dean to the person's file,
c. Ineligibility for (i) grants, (ii) IRB approval, or (iii) supervision of graduate students,
d. Non-renewal of appointment,
e. Dismissal.

The Associate Provost will then recommend an appropriate sanction to the President, who will make the final decision.

In addition, the College shall follow Federal regulations regarding the notification of the sponsoring agency in the event an Investigator has failed to comply with this policy. The sponsor may take its own action, as it deems appropriate, including the suspension of funding for the Investigator until the matter is resolved.

Last Updated: 8/13/08