Conflict of Interest

The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research is dedicated to encouraging extramural research conducted according to the highest ethical and professional standards.

As sponsored projects at TU develop, they increasingly intersect with entrepreneurial and/or personal interests, creating the possibility of conflicting interests. The Maryland Public Ethics Law prohibits State employees from having certain relationships with entities that may transact business with their employees.  In addition, federal regulations require universities and others to monitor research for real and potential conflicts of interest in order to ensure the integrity of federally-funded research. TU maintains a policy that sets forth the procedures necessary for faculty engaged in sponsored research or development to obtain the exemption from the ethics law and to comply with federal regulations.

These procedures apply to university employees seeking approval of their relationship with an entity which:

  • has a direct interest in the outcome of research and/or development projects administered by the university
  • is engaged in research and/or development projects administered by the university
  • participates in economic development programs administered by the university


Complete the Towson University Conflict of Interest Assessment Form (PDF) where relevant, then sign and submit the completed form and any attachments via TU’s File Delivery Service to

Refer to the full 03-01.11 – Policy on Conflict of Interest in Research or Development for more detail.

Examples of Conflict of Interest

Financial Interest

  • If the TU employee has received, within the past 3 years, is presently receiving, or in the future is entitled to receive, more than $1,000 per year.
  • If the TU employee or their spouse has ownership of securities of any kind that represent or are convertible into ownership of more than 3 percent of a business entity.

Harmful Interest

  • An interest which when examined under the review procedures is found to be so influential as to impair impartiality in the conduct of research, the interpretation of the results of the research and/or determination of research or other professional and employment priorities.


  • Any interest in, service to, employment with, gift from, or other benefit or relationship with, and entity if not disclosed and approved pursuant to these procedures.
  • Any relationship of a spouse or other relative of an officer or employee if such relationship creates restrictions on the officer or employee under the Conflict of Interest Provisions of the Ethics Law.
 Adobe Reader Download button