Conflict of Interest in Research

Both the State of California and the Federal Government require transparency about financial relationships that may impact, or be perceived to impact, the manner in which funded research occurs. 

Therefore, both California and the Federal Government require that Cal Poly put in place mechanisms for faculty, staff, and students to report potential Conflicts of Interest related to their research and other activities and to receive training about how financial conflicts might negatively impact their research and the publics' trust in research results.

All potential financial conflicts that are disclosed are reviewed by staff in Division of Research and Research Integrity and Compliance. Potentially significant conflicts are forwarded to the Conflict of Interest in Research Committee (CIRC) for review.  Disclosing a potential conflict does not necessarily mean that the disclosing individual will not be able to work on a project.  After reviewing a potentially significant disclosure the CIRC may determine that:

  • no significant conflict exists
  • a significant conflict exists, but can be mitigated through a mitigation plan or similar measure
  • a significant conflict exists that can not be mitigated, where an investigator may not be able to pursue the project/activity as proposed


Forms and Instructions



  • Federally funded projects: Most federal agencies require certification of training in financial conflict of interest for each investigator prior to initiation of a project. Cal Poly subscribes to the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), an online site with up-to-date training modules and information, to fulfill the federal training requirement. Access, registration, and all course material for financial conflict of interest training are located on the CITI website. If you need assistance registering, or if you have questions about which modules must be completed, please contact Research Integrity and Compliance.
  • Privately funded projects: For privately funded projects that require filing a 700-U Statement of Economic Interests form, the CSU has developed an online training module that fulfills the State’s training requirement. This training must be completed by Cal Poly investigators no later than six months after the start date of the project, and expires after two (2) years. Contact the Civil Rights and Compliance Office COI page for more information and for access to the CSU online training program.

Please note: At this time, if you are involved in both federally funded and privately funded projects, you must complete both training programs to be in compliance with State and Federal regulations.

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