Conflict of interest

The Technology Licensing team works with inventors to facilitate both the technology transfer process and the licensing process.

You should be familiar with University procedures relating to conflict of interest, especially as start-ups associated with the University can often be confronted with such issues. This means that the University has to be especially careful if a start-up associated with a faculty is a potential licensing candidate. In these cases, the team often markets inventions and negotiates terms from a distance, as per conflict of interest best practice.

You should first and foremost dedicate your time and effort to the University's education, research and scholarship programs. Of course, you will have different priorities to staff from other faculties, schools and departments, which the Dean and/or Head of Department will communicate to you.

Conflict of interests depend entirely on the situation, not on your character or decisions. The Technology Licensing team cannot sign off on any agreement until the conflict of interest reviews and approvals are complete.

Conflict of interest occurrences

A conflict of interest occurs when there is a discrepancy between your private interests and your professional duty to the University, to the point where an external party might wonder if your actions or decisions are motivated by the potential for personal financial gain. These situations do not automatically imply unethical behaviour, but in the academic community this inference can compromise the University's reputation, values and research integrity. It is critical that you understand the problems caused by conflict of interest and how to disclose any information relating to a potential conflict of interest.

Conflict of interests often occur at the junction of two differing academic responsibilities – to go beyond the limitations of current knowledge and to ensure the public can access this knowledge via the private sector. Outside consulting, patenting and licensing an invention, or forming a start-up may offer powerful financial incentives; however, personal gain cannot have any influence over your decisions. Even the suggestion of a conflict of interest can damage the University's research objectivity, affect the protection of human participants in research, or impair other University responsibilities in terms of education, clinical care or administration. As such, you must identify and disclose conflict of interests so that they can be eliminated.

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