Institutional Conflicts

Take home message: All University administrators, faculty and staff need to be alert to potential institutional conflicts of interest, both real and perceived, that may arise in the course of relationships between the University as an institution and private entities outside the University.

U-M Policy and helpful links

  • Institutional conflicts of interest exist when the financial and business interests of the University, or the significant personal interests of its senior officials (such as executive officers, deans or directors), could influence or appear to influence institutional decision-making, or result in special treatment being afforded to or by the University in its transactions and dealings with outside entities. This is in contrast to individual conflicts, which exist when an individual’s interests could affect decision-making in the context of his or her individual duties at U-M.
  • The University embraces involvement with outside entities and individuals, but must be vigilant in identifying and managing the potential for conflicts between its mission and its financial interests – particularly where the financial interests of U-M or its officials could appear to affect the safety of human research subjects or patients, the integrity of research, the allocation of resources, or the objectivity of any educational, professional or business decision-making.
  • For institutional conflicts in research: U-M’s Policy on Institutional Conflict of Interest in Research establishes principles and procedures designed to ensure that research activities at U-M are conducted without untoward influence resulting from certain payments for the transfer of technology, university equity holdings outside the university’s endowment, gifts to the university, or significant financial interests of senior management personnel.
  • For Regents and Executive Officers, any potential conflicts of interest are governed by Regent’s Bylaw 1.14: Regental and Executive-Senior Officer Conflict of Interest Policy. In addition, those who report directly to the President must follow SPG 201.65-1 and the Policy for Executive Officers and Presidential Direct Reports on Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment.
  • For deans, directors and others who report to the Provost, any potential conflicts are governed by SPG 201.65-1 and the Policy for Deans and Directors on Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment.

Things to remember

  • The actions and interests of U-M’s senior personnel can impact on the institution’s reputation – and can affect or appear to affect institutional decision making. Those involved in institutional decisions need to be mindful of the appearance of conflict, and manage potential conflicts transparently and properly.

People to talk to

For questions or advice about institutional conflicts relevant to research or clinical activity, contact one of the people listed on the Office of the Vice President for Research Conflict of Interest Review Committee contacts page.

For legal assistance relating to institutional conflicts, contact Ndu Ozor (cnozor@umich.edu) in the Office of the General Counsel.


Established 3/4/11, last updated 6/27/18 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated