Conflict of interest
At Kyushu University, we believe our third mission, after education and research, is to make a proactive contribution to society. As part of this, the University engages in various systems to promote joint research, funded research, Comprehensive Collaborative Research, University-originating venture support, technology transfers, and a range of other industry/academia/government partnerships.
On the other hand, in order to promote healthy industry/academia/government partnership activities, it is necessary to proactively manage situations that could be described as “conflict of interest” as the University, and to ensure we are building an environment in which staff can proceed into industry/academia/government partnerships with peace of mind.
For this reason, the University has created the Kyushu University Policy on Conflict of Interest (passed by the Deans Committee on 19th March 2004), based on which the Kyushu University Management Guidelines on Conflict of Interest were defined, and we are engaged in the active management of conflicts of interest.
○Definition of “conflict of interest”
In the course of an industry/academia/government partnership, it is natural and appropriate that staff members and others should receive appropriate remuneration from corporations, etc., and that they should at the same time undertake responsibilities in regard to those specified companies. However, since the basic attributes and roles of a University, whose objective is to search for the truth through research, differ from those of a private company, whose activities are designed to maximize profits, it is always possible that the interest and responsibilities of a member of staff involved in an industry/academia/government partnerships may clash with the responsibilities of the University. This situation is known as “conflict of interest,” and at Kyushu University, we categorize the type of conflicts of interest that require management in the following way.
- 1.Conflict of interest in the broad definition
A combination of the narrow definition of conflicts of interest and conflicts in responsibilities
- 2.Conflict of interest in the narrow definition
A clash or conflict between profits obtained by a member of staff or the University as a result of industry/academia/government partnerships (implementation income, subsidiary remuneration, unpublished shares, etc.) and the responsibilities of education or research at the University.
- 3.Conflict in responsibilities
A member of staff is mainly engaged in subsidiary activities as part of his/her work for the company, etc., and as a result is not able to balance the execution of his/her responsibilities to the University with his/her responsibilities to the company.
- 4.Conflict of interest as an individual
Within the narrow definition of conflicts of interest, a conflict between the profit obtained by an individual employee and that employee's responsibilities to the University.
- 5.Conflict of interest as the University (organization)
Within the narrow definition of conflicts of interest, a conflict between the profit obtained by a University organization and that organization’s responsibilities to society.
A conflict of interest is defined as not only a situation in which “responsibility to the University is not being met,” but also any situation that leads to the perception that “the University’s responsibility to society may not be being met.” This is therefore different to a legal infringement, and is rather a situation that can be dealt with by appropriate management, and by ensuring that we meet our responsibilities to offer explanations to society.
＊Management committee for the consideration of conflicts of interest
In order to consider the following sorts of cases, we have established a Management committee for the consideration of conflicts of interest, which must contain one qualified lawyer, either from within the University or outside.
- ・Surveys and consultations regarding the management of conflicts of interest
- ・Consideration of individual incidences of conflicts of interest, and the issuance of warnings regarding such
- ・Issues relating to our responsibility to explain our management practices relating to conflicts of interest to the outside world
- ・Other important issues relating to the management of conflicts of interest
＊Management advisers for conflict of interest issues
The University has appointed management advisers for conflict of interest issues, who may be approached by individuals for advice on personal declaration contents, and engage in consultations with employees regarding conflicts of interest.
- 1. Regular personal declaration
Faculty members considered within the scope of these regulations are required to submit a personal declaration each year, regardless of their being active or otherwise in an industry/academia/government partnership, relating to any issues that may constitute a conflict of interest, such as economic benefits they may have obtained from the partner organization, and whether they currently own any equity in their partner organization. Where necessary, these members of staff may be required to undertake an interview with the management adviser for conflict of interest issues, or take advice.
- 2. Personal declaration regarding Health and Labor Sciences Research as well as Research of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)
Researchers who used Health and Labor Sciences Research Grants (Representative of researchers, researchers who took respective roles), researchers who conducted contract research of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) or used their subsidy (Representative of research and development, researchers who took respective roles in research and development) need to submit a personal declaration (for Health and Labor Sciences Research / Research of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development) before submitting the grant application of each research task (or before consignment agreement for research). If necessary, management advisors for conflict of interest issues will conduct hearings and give advice.
- 3. Consultation
In addition, faculty members may consult the Academic Research and Industrial Collaboration Management Office about issues relating to conflict of interest at any time. If you wish to consult, please submit a consultation request.
○Management of conflict of interest issues in clinical research
Clinical research involves researching human beings, and as such, it is vital that the human rights and life of the person being experimented on is protected, and any such research is carried out with extreme considerations for safety. For this reason, the Graduate School of Medicine, research institutes and research laboratories, as well as the Kyushu University Hospital, have defined the “Kyushu University Medical Clinical Research Guidelines for Conflict of Interest” and the “Guidelines for Management of Conflict of Interest in Clinical Research within Medical Departments.” In addition to the University-wide management of conflicts of interest, we have a strong focus on the management of conflicts of interest within clinical research.