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Conflict of Interest in Research

The University is committed to basic values of transparency, integrity of scholarship, and independence as it pursues its mission to create, preserve, and disseminate knowledge through teaching, research, and public service. Accordingly, Grand Valley State University allows and encourages faculty and staff to engage in outside activities and relationships that enhance the mission of the University. All faculty and staff members are to act with honesty, integrity, and in the best interest of the University when performing their duties, and to abide by the highest standards of research, educational, professional, and fiscal conduct.

Given that Grand Valley State University allows and encourages outside activities and relationships that enhance the mission of the University, potential conflicts of interest (COIs) and commitment are inevitable. Outside activities should not, however, interfere with an individual’s University obligations. Faculty and staff must not use their official University positions or influence to further gain or advancement for themselves, parents, siblings, spouse or partner, children, dependent relatives, or other personal associates, at the expense of the University.

All actual and potential conflicts of interest or commitment must be disclosed to a designated University official; evaluated; and, if found to be significant, eliminated or managed. Academic or administrative units may require further disclosure and conflict management than mandated by this policy as may be deemed appropriate by the unit and its supervising administrator. For more information, read our Conflict of Interest in Research Policy.


Note that the Conflict of Interest in Research Policy is separate from other COI policies established by the Board of Trustees and the Senior Leadership Team. GVSU personnel are responsible for abiding by all COI policies, which can be found on the University Policies page.

COI Disclosure

Those required to disclose Conflicts of Interest include any personnel who are:

  • Listed on a sponsored project or technology transfer application
  • An "Investigator" on research covered by GVSU policy and/or
  • Personnel on protocols submitted to GVSU's Institutional Review Board (IRB) or GVSU's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)


Conflicts of interest disclosures related to IRB and IACUC protocols are disclosed directly on the protocol submission forms.

Conflicts of interest related to other research/sponsored project/technology transfer applications are reported via the Investigator Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Certification Form.

COI Review and Mitigation

COI disclosures are initially reviewed by Office of Research Compliance and Integrity (ORCI) staff. If additional review is required, the review is referred to the University's Research Integrity Officer (RIO). Final disposition for every project on which an Investigator has disclosed a potential conflict of interest must be either 'No Conflict' or 'Conflict Managed.' If a mitigation plan is needed to address the conflict, the ORCI will coordinate the details of the plan with the researcher and the RIO.

COI Training

Conflict of Interest training is available through CITI. Note that this training, or an equivalent training, is required for any GVSU researchers on Public Health Service (PHS)-funded awards. Click here to learn more about CITI.

Whom Can I Contact with Questions?

Benjamin Vesper, Ph.D., M.B.A., PMP, CIP, ECoP® (EAR/ITAR): Director, Office of Research Compliance and Integrity

Office Address: 049 James H. Zumberge Hall


Phone: (616)331-9137

Stacey Gardner, CIP: Research Compliance Specialist, Office of Research Compliance and Integrity

Office Address: 049 James H. Zumberge Hall


Phone: (616)331-9453

Jeffrey Potteiger, Ph.D., FASCM: Authorizing Institutional Official, Research Integrity Officer, Dean of The Graduate School

Office Address: 310C Richard M DeVos Center


Phone: (616)331-7207