DO I HAVE A CONFLICT OF INTERESTS?

No matter what functions you perform at the University and what interests you have, conflicts of interests can arise. On this web page, you will find examples of conflicts of interests that are relevant in the university context. You will also find reference material and contacts if you need assistance in determining whether the conflict of interests rule outlined in clause 8 of the External Interests Policy applies to your situation. You can also use this checklist to help you identify a conflict of interests.

The examples of conflicts have been grouped into five categories relating to your duties and responsibilities at the University:

There are also examples relating to gifts or benefits offered to individual staff members or affiliates of the University (for example, by companies, international dignitaries or collaborators).

Financial

  • If you work for, or are a director of, an external entity and the interests of that external entity are in conflict with the interests of the University, or the work that you do for that entity is based on the use of University resources or conflicts with the work you undertake at the University.
  • If you (or an entity in which you have an interest, or a person with whom you have a personal relationship) own property which the University leases, licences or otherwise deals with.
  • If you have an interest in an external entity, or a personal relationship with someone, and you are in a position to direct University resources to that entity or person.
  • If you make financial decisions on behalf of the University (for example investments, loans, purchases or sales of goods or services, shares, or financial accounting decisions) in circumstances which could affect an external entity in which you have an interest or someone with whom you have a personal relationship.
  • If you have an interest in an external entity which is engaged to conduct an activity for which you have budgetary responsibility.
  • If you have a personal relationship with someone who is engaged to conduct an activity for which you have budgetary responsibility.


Additional reference material and key contacts


Research

  • If you have an interest in, or hold a position in, an external entity that funds any of your activities (including research, teaching or public communication). Funding may take the form of direct or unrestricted grants; benefits in kind such as the provision of materials, facilities or equipment; or benefits to individuals such as travel or conference expenses.
  • If you have an involvement with an external entity which has a direct interest in the subject matter of your research. This includes involvement with agents acting on behalf of the entity.
  • If any external agreement limits the scope of your research or teaching activity at the University. Examples would include agreements which contain exclusivity, non-competition or right of first refusal provisions.
  • If an external entity provides or proposes to provide you with assistance in writing or researching material for publication. This includes provision of “ghost writers”.
  • If you are, or might be, involved in proposing, assessing, or approving a University Commercial Activity (as defined in the s26 A of the University of Sydney Act 1989 (as amended)) and that activity affects an external entity in which you have an interest.


Additional reference material and key contacts


Intellectual property and commercialisation

  • If your research is sponsored by an external entity in which you have an interest.
  • If you propose to provide consultancy services to an external entity which has engaged, or proposes to engage, the University to provide research services in which you are or might be involved.
  • If you or an entity in which you have an interest has an intellectual property right related to research being conducted at the University.
  • If an entity in which you have an interest proposes to acquire or to license any intellectual property or other property, facility or resource of the University.


Additional reference material and key contacts


Admissions, teaching and supervising students, assessments

  • If you have an interest in an external entity which funds all or part of the research being undertaken by you or your students.
  • If you have, or form, a personal relationship with a student for whom you have supervisory, teaching or assessment responsibility.
  • If you have an interest in an external entity controlled by a student for whom you have supervisory, teaching or assessment responsibility.
  • If you are asked to advise upon or implement a University decision regarding a student matter involving a student with whom you have a personal relationship.
  • If you propose that your students will participate in research which uses confidential information or intellectual property or which otherwise constrains their right to publish or communicate freely.
  • If you have an interest in an external entity which sponsors or proposes to sponsor research assigned to a student for whom you have supervisory, teaching or assessment responsibility.
  • If you have an interest in an external entity which employs or proposes to employ a student for whom you have supervisory, teaching or assessment responsibility.
  • If you have an interest in an external entity which sponsors or proposes to sponsor activities undertaken by students for whom you have supervisory, teaching or assessment responsibility. These activities might include social or extramural events, attendance at conferences, travel or training opportunities, or the provision of equipment or services.


Additional reference material and key contacts


Hiring staff and contractors

  • If you are on the selection panel for the recruitment of a role and you have a personal or business relationship with one of the candidates.
  • If you propose to provide advice or implement a University decision regarding an employment matter involving a person with whom you have a personal relationship.
  • If you are making decisions about the award of a University contract for the provision of goods or services and you have a personal relationship with a person who works for a potential supplier.
  • If you are making decisions about the award of a University contract for the provision of goods or services and you receive a gift or benefit from a person who works for a potential supplier.


Additional reference material and key contacts


Gifts or benefits

  • If you are making a decision in relation to a student issue and the University receives a gift from a person who has a relationship with the student.
  • If you propose to provide advice or implement a University decision regarding an employment matter involving a person who has a relationship with a benefactor to the University.
  • If you are making a decision in relation to a student issue and you receive a gift or benefit from a person who has a relationship with the student.
  • If you provide advice to a donor and influence their decision-making in relation to a gift to the University for your personal gain.
  • If you accept a gift to the University from an external person or entity and use the gift in a way that benefits you rather than the University.


Additional reference material and key contacts

  • Code of Conduct
  • Please note, the External Interests Policy does not include gifts as defined by the University’s Gift Acceptance Policy where there is:
    (a) an intention to give (which is evidenced either in writing or through another act);
    (b) a transfer of all right, title and interest in the property to the University; and
    (c) no material benefit received in return for the making of the gift.