Case Scenarios-Case 2
Four professors in a common area of research have formed an LLC. This group performs contract research for companies, using the University's lab. Initially, the time spent by these professors doing contract work did not exceed 2 days a month. More recently, due to the increased number of contracts, the LLC has hired graduate students to assist with the work load.
Is there a potential for a conflict of interest or a conflict of time commitment?
What to consider: Case 2
Yes. This activity requires a management plan to be submitted with the annual disclosure form.
The professor should inform the impacted student(s) or staff in writing about his/her relationship to the Company. The students or staff members should be insured that involvement with the Company will not in any way adversely affect their academic progress or employment status.
The use of university resources should be addressed. The university should be compensated according to departmental procedures.
The plan should include information on the professors' expected time commitment and how conflicts of interest and time commitment will be avoided. In general, faculty should not be conducting day-to-day management of company activities. If it is necessary for faculty to do this for a limited period of time, explain how the conflict of time commitment will be handled - faculty leave, rigid time management, etc.