University Senate                                                                     

Proposed: April 3, 2009

Adopted: by voice vote with one abstention




WHEREAS      Columbia University encourages faculty to engage in the transfer of knowledge from the University into the commercial marketplace, and

WHEREAS      It is an appropriate role for the University to facilitate the transfer of the knowledge gained through academic research to applications that can benefit the general population, and

WHEREAS      Experience gained by faculty in the course of outside professional activities can enhance their teaching and research or scholarship within the University, and

WHEREAS      Universities must protect the integrity of the academic mission by assuring that outside financial interests of investigators do not give rise to conflicts of interest in research; and

WHEREAS      Columbia has developed a new University-wide policy on Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research that updates and consolidates the policies that now apply separately to the Medical Center and Morningside campuses and allows for flexible approaches through sub-committees for research conducted at the Medical Center and research conducted elsewhere at the University; and

WHEREAS      the new policy is designed to ensure that potential conflicts of interest in research are identified, managed, and made transparent to the public as appropriate,  without undermining the goals of the Bayh-Dole Act, which requires universities to commercialize the intellectual property that results from federally sponsored research and to share the proceeds from such commercialization with the inventor(s), and which has unleashed a torrent of productive research activity since its adoption in 1980; and

WHEREAS      the policy’s aim is to enable careful review and management of potential conflicts of interest and to facilitate compliance with applicable regulations without contravening the freedom of academic pursuit or hindering the right of free association;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED       that the University Senate adopt the new Columbia University Policy on Financial Conflicts of Interest and Research, and recommend its addition as an appendix in the Faculty Handbook, replacing those sections that relate to research in the conflict-of-interest policies now identified there as Appendices E, F and G, but without effect on the sections of those policies that relate to conflicts of interest in administration or other areas;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED            that the University administration will report annually to the Senate Committee on External Relations and Research Policy on the implementation of the Policy on Financial Conflicts of Research in Research, starting in the spring of 2010;

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED            that the University Senate in two years consider whether any revisions should be made in the policy, in a review focusing on but not limited to the following issues:



Committee on External Relations and Research Policy