Conflicts of interest

Oxford's Conflict of Interest Policy requires all staff and students 'to recognise and disclose activities that might give rise to conflicts of interest or the perception of conflicts and to ensure that such conflicts are seen to be properly managed or avoided'. 

A conflict of interest can occur when your duties to the University compete with your personal interests or your duties to other people or organisations. Actual or perceived conflicts can arise from external activities that are undertaken in addition to your University role, personal relationships, or conflicting roles within the collegiate University. They can be financial, non-financial or both.

The Policy provides information on recognisingdeclaring and managing conflicts of interest. 

An introduction to conflicts of interest ( , 380kb)   


Activities that might give rise to potential conflicts of interest include:

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If you have an interest (be it financial or personal) in a spinout, startup or other external venture with a connection to your academic work, you are required to take certain steps to manage your conflicts of interests (see Appendix A of the Policy).

If you have a financial interest in the licensee (or proposed licensee) of University intellectual property you should disclose this, and step back from the negotiations, which should be managed by the IP Rights Management Team and Oxford University Innovation.

If you are involved in the procurement of goods and services, you should not take part in any purchasing decision where you have a personal relationship with, or another connection to, one of the other parties involved.

If you are involved in complex commercial transactions and arrangements (such as a research or commercialisation venture or the development of a capital project) you should be aware of your different interests and activities, and be able to distinguish between the responsibilities that come with each of these. In addition to ensuring that the relevant people in the department, division and support services are kept up-to-date, due diligence needs to be undertaken before setting up agreements or other collaborations.

All conflicts should be declared when applying for grants, negotiating contracts, submitting manuscripts for publication etc. You also need to ensure that you comply with the requirements of funding bodies.

If you hold any outside appointments you will need to avoid the conflicts of interest that can arise if these appointments compete with your University role. Approval needs to be sought before taking on an outside appointment.

If you are involved in admissions, recruitment or contract negotiation you should neither deal with, nor make decisions about, applicants or other parties in negotiations that are known to you.

Guidance on admissions and recruitment.

Further information, including guidance for departments is available on the Research Services website.

Staff, students and others working in the University are encouraged to discuss issues related to conflicts of interest with heads of department, colleagues, mentors, supervisors, tutors, or others as appropriate. Questions can also be addressed to the Secretary of the Conflict of Interest Committee.

Relevant training

From Compliance (NEW):

From Research Services:

Contact us

COI Committee Secretary:

For further information contact the Risk, Compliance and Assurance Team: