Sponsored Programs & Research Compliance

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Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest (COI) relates to situations in which financial or other personal considerations, circumstances, or relationships may compromise, may involve the potential for compromising, or may have the appearance of compromising an employee’s objectivity in fulfilling their University duties or responsibilities, including research, service and teaching activities and administrative duties. 

Need to submit an Annual disclosure or notice of External Professional Activity for Pay (EPAP)? Click here to log into the OSPREY research administration system with your usual UNCW credentials!

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Provost Winebrake sent a message on November 15 regarding the Annual Conflict of Interest disclosure requirement, with a deadline of Friday, December 2 for disclosures to be submitted All faculty and staff in positions subject to this annual reporting requirement received his email, and will receive reminders until the form is submitted.  See below for more details on this requirement.  UNCW now uses "OSPREY" (Online Sponsored Programs and Research Enterprise sYstem) for grant and contract administration, conflict of interest reporting, and IRB applications. 

You can find quick instructions on how to submit your Annual COI disclosure below.  If you would like hands-on assistance submitting your annual COI form, please contact COI staff at coi@uncw.edu to set up a Zoom session and we will be happy to assist you with completing your form.

The UNCW Research Integrity Office is continuing to offer all operations virtually.  We look forward to assisting you with your research endeavors!

General COI and EPAP Information

There are three disclosures described below that are stipulated by UNCW policy and are required for all full-time, part-time, permanent, and temporary faculty and EHRA non-faculty staff.

Annual Conflict of Interest Disclosures

All faculty and EHRA non-faculty employees must complete an Annual Conflict of Interest Disclosure through an online disclosure management system called OSPREY to report their activities, interests and relationships.  Certain SHRA positions are also subject to this requirement if an SHRA employee teaches a course or serves in an interim EHRA position.

Employees subject to this requirment includes full time and part time, permanent and temporary, research active and not research active, faculty, EHRA non-faculty, and certain SHRA positions, as well as faculty who are on phased retirement.  Employees who are subject to this requirement must submit a disclosure annually even if they have no activities to report, their previously reported activities have not changed, or they already have an approved management plan in place for previously-reported activities.  This requirement is in addition to disclosures submitted for specific funded projects.

Quick guide to submit an Annual COI Disclosure:

  1. Login to OSPREY
  2. Click Conflict of Interest on the left navigation menu
  3. Click Create/Update Disclosure
  4. Click either Create Disclosure (if no previous disclosure is on file) or Recertify/Update Disclosure
  5. Complete all questions

Need more resources?

Resources for disclosers:
Click here for a PDF or see guide below for step-by-step instructions and screen shots for how to complete and submit your Annual COI disclosure and an external professional activity for pay (EPAP) notice.

Click here for guidance on what you need to disclose.

Resources for reviewers:
Click here for a PDF showing step-by-step instructions and screen shots for how to review and make a determination on potential conflicts on Annual disclosures.

Click here for guidance on different categories of potential conflicts.

Click here for guidance on making determinations on different activities.



External Professional Activities for Pay

An External Professional Activities for Pay (EPAP) is defined as any activity that is not included within an employee's UNCW responsibilities, is undertaken for compensation by a non-UNCW entity, and is based upon the professional knowledge, experience and abilities of the employee.

Requests for approval to engage in an EPAP must be submitted at least ten (10) days prior to engaging in the activity.  When subject employees report EPAPs in OSPREY, the request is routed to the employee's supervisor for approval.  If the request is denied, per UNCW COIC policy, the employee has the right to appeal the decision.

If you are a supervisor and you receive a notice informing you that an employee under your supervision has submitted an EPAP for your review, please log into OSPREY to conduct the review.

Need resources?

Resources for disclosers:
Click here for a PDF showing step-by-step instructions and screen shots for how to complete and submit an Annual COI disclosure and a notice of external activity for pay (EPAP).

Resources for reviewers:
Click here for a PDF showing step-by-step instructions and screen shots for how to review and approve (or return) a request to approve an external professional activity for pay (EPAP).

Project-Specific COI Disclosures

When conducting funded research at UNCW, there is a requirement for researchers to disclose all financial interests related to their institutional responsibilities (teaching, research, professional practice, etc.) and complete mandatory training on financial conflict of interest.

Conflict of Interest in Research: Training and Quiz Completion Requirements

Every investigator on funded projects, including subrecipient investigators, are required to complete training prior to engaging in externally-funded research.  The training must be completed at least every four years.  To prepare for the training, you can click here for FAQs on COI policies and procedures, click here for examples of activities you should disclose, and click here for guidance on different COI categories.


A Covered Employee may appeal a supervisor’s decision regarding Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and External Professional Activities for Pay. The Covered Employee shall not proceed with the proposed activity but may appeal that decision to the administrative officer to whom the department chair or other supervisor reports (e.g., dean), and then to the chancellor or the chancellor’s designee.

Appeals must be made in writing within five (5) business days of receipt of the decision to be appealed. For appeals related to Conflicts of Interest or Commitment, the Covered Employee bears the burden of demonstrating to the officer’s satisfaction that the activity at issue is not a Conflict of Interest or Commitment or that it can be managed differently.

A decision on any such appeal shall be given by the administrative officer, or the chancellor or chancellor’s designee, as appropriate, to the Covered Employee within ten (10) business days of the date on which the appeal is received. The decision of the chancellor or chancellor’s designee is final.

Federal Regulation on Conflict of Interest in Research

There are specific conflict of interest training and reporting requirements for Institutions that apply for or receive funding from the Public Health Service (PHS) Awarding Components. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the final rule that amends the Public Health Service (PHS) regulations on Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for Which PHS Funding is Sought (45 C.F.R. Part 50) and Responsible Prospective Contractors (45 C.F.R. Part 94).

COI Contact Information

Tell the COI team in the Research Integrity Office how we're doing on this quick, 4-question survey, which you can also access by scanning this QR code!

QR Code for a quick customer satisfaction survey

Additionally, please be aware that the Office of Internal Audit at UNCW maintains an anonymous reporting tool to facilitate reporting of allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement of funds. Concerns about ethical practices may also be reported anonymously to the State Auditor’s Fraud and Abuse Hotline by calling 1-800-730-8477 or filing a complaint online at http://www.ncauditor.net/HotTips/.