Purpose and Background
This policy affirms joint student and faculty responsibilities, as members of the University of California, in relationship to potential conflicts of interest and provides mechanisms to ensure that outside activities are consistent with University policy. Specifically, this policy seeks to identify cases where a faculty member's financial interest may have negative effects on a student's academic interests.
Opportunities for graduate students to work in the private sector as part of their education are rapidly increasing. The experience and feedback these experiences provide complement their academic curricula and enhance its relevance. Opportunities and benefits of such collaborations may include a sense of the private sector's needs and future directions; exposure to the most recent specialized research within a particular field; opportunities to apply theory to "real-world" problems; access to cutting-edge equipment and lab resources; opportunities to enhance work skills, such as critical thinking, communication, business acumen, and team participation; increased understanding of career possibilities and potential career directions1.
In order to protect a student's academic interests, faculty members and students must disclose certain agreements or arrangements where conflicts with these interests may arise. Such disclosure should take place at any time the agreements or arrangements set forth below arise.
When these agreements or arrangements are disclosed, procedures will be initiated to determine whether the agreements or arrangements are consistent with the student's academic interests. If not, consideration will be given to methods of resolution of these conflicts.
The following agreements or arrangements should be disclosed to the Graduate Division Dean as soon as the student becomes aware of the facts giving rise to the disclosure obligation:
Agreements or arrangements between a student and a private entity involving research or other professional activities as required by the graduate degree program, where the University or a mentor/research/thesis/dissertation advisor is a party to the agreement or arrangement, and the student's mentor/research/thesis/dissertation advisor has a financial interest in the private entity.
And one or more of the following is true:
- The research activities or other professional activities as required by the graduate degree program are related to the student's thesis/dissertation, or
- There are restrictions on the student's ability to publish, present, or otherwise disclose the findings from their research activities.
When a student enters into any private arrangements, s/he may have obligations to the University (such as employment) and should ensure that conflicts do not arise which could violate those University obligations.