Additional Information

Organizational Conflict of Interest("OCI") - What is it?

Organizational Conflict of Interest” means that because of other activities or relationships with other entities, the institution is unable to render impartial assistance or advice to the Government, cannot perform the federal contract work in an objective way, or has an unfair competitive advantage compared to other entities.

Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI) could result when the nature of the work being performed on a federal contract creates an actual or potential conflict of interest on a future award, which could result in restrictions on that award. There are three basic categories where OCIs may be found:

  • biased ground rules (FAR 9.505-2): Example – preparing/writing specifications or work statements that are used in a funding opportunity;
  • impaired objectivity (FAR 9.505-3): Example – evaluating or assessing performance of products/services of others within same organization; and
  • unequal access to information (FAR 9.505-4): Example – gaining access to non-public information (i.e., budget(s)/budget information, statements of work, evaluation criteria, etc.) through performance of a federal contract.
One faculty member’s involvement in one of these situations may preclude a subsequently related award (and different faculty member) from being received at the University on the basis of a potential OCI.

How OCI differs from FCOI

“Organizational Conflict of Interest” means that because of other activities or relationships with other entities, the institution is unable to 1) render impartial assistance or advice to the Government, 2) cannot perform the federal contract work in an objective way, or 3) has an unfair competitive advantage compared to other entities.

“Financial Conflict of Interest” means a potential or actual conflict of interest arises when an individual's commitments and obligations to the University or to widely recognized professional norms are likely to be compromised by a person's other interests or commitments, particularly economic , especially if those interests or commitments are not disclosed.

Thus, OCI focuses on the institution (and everyone within the institution) and potential or actual conflicts, whereas FCOI focuses on individuals only. Removing an individual from a project may resolve a potential FCOI issue, but not a potential OCI issue.

Here are a few examples:
OCI:

  • biased ground rules – preparing/writing specifications or work statements that are used in a funding opportunity
  • impaired objectivity – evaluating or assessing performance of products/services of others within same organization
  • unequal access to information – gaining access to non-public information (i.e., budget(s)/budget information, statements of work, evaluation criteria, etc.) through performance of a federal contract
FCOI:
  • accepting over-scale honoraria for lectures at companies whose economic or political interests are affected by an investigator's research
  • accepting a paid consultancy with a company having an interest in your research
  • influencing the negotiation of contracts, including research contracts or licensing contracts, between the University and a company in which you have a financial interest
  • Using students to perform services for a company in which you have a financial interest