Berkeley Lab Conflict of Interest Policies
To help you understand whether you have a potential conflict of interest, refer to the guide, “What is a Conflict of Interest?”
Conflict of Interest – Requirements and Policies Manual (RPM)
Berkeley Lab has a number of conflict of interest policies in place. The list below provides an overview of these policies. Please refer to the sections further below for specific situations.
The policy manual includes the following areas:
- Conflict of Interest – General
- Conflict of Interest in Procurement
- Conflict of Interest and Property
- Conflict of Interest in Research
- Employment Restrictions
- Financial Disclosure
- Foreign Visitors and Information Management
- Organizational Conflict of Interest
- Outside Business and Employment
- Restrictions on Outside Activities
Conflict of Interest in Licensing
This policy applies to all Berkeley Lab inventors and other Laboratory employees who have a role in technology licensing agreements. Berkeley Lab inventors and licensing staff must not allow their personal financial interests to influence or appear to influence their or others’ licensing decisions. Inventors and employees who have a role in licensing decisions must disclose their financial interest in companies with which Berkeley Lab is negotiating a license.
Conflict of Interest in Research – CRADAs
Each Berkeley Lab employee participating in the conception, negotiation, approval, or execution of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) must disclose a financial interest in any entity, other than the University of California, that has an interest in the CRADA.
Conflict of Interest in Research – Federal (NIH, PHS)
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) investigators who are responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and certain other sources must disclose financial interests related to their institutional responsibilities periodically over the life cycle of the research project.
Conflict of Interest in Research – Other Federal (Non-DOE) Sponsors
Berkeley Lab employees responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research sponsored by certain federal (non-DOE) sources must disclose financial interests related to their institutional responsibilities periodically over the life cycle of the research project.
Conflict of Interest in Research – Human Subjects
All protocol applications for research involving human subjects must include disclosure of any financial or other personal considerations that may compromise, or have the appearance of compromising, the researchers’ professional judgment in conducting or reporting research so as to adversely affect the rights and welfare of human subjects.
Conflict of Interest in Research – Private Sponsors
Berkeley Lab requires principal investigators (PIs) to disclose financial interests in nongovernmental entities that sponsor the PI’s research or provide research gifts to the PI.
Organizational Conflict of Interest
Berkeley Lab must not be biased because of its financial, contractual, organizational, or other interests, and must not obtain any unfair competitive advantage over other parties by virtue of its performance of work. Employees who participate in developing the specifications or scope of work for DOE or other funding opportunities may be restricted from competing for those opportunities.
Outside Employment and Consulting
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) employees owe their primary professional allegiance to the Laboratory, and are expected to conduct their time and work accordingly. Employees are required to obtain institutional approval prior to engaging in outside business and professional activities, such as consulting and service on science advisory boards or boards of directors, or employment. Approval is required for uncompensated service on boards of directors, and any other work in which an employee is responsible for the operation or oversight of an organization or company. This policy establishes review principles and processes for employee participation in consulting, employment, and other professional activities outside of Berkeley Lab.
700-U Exempt List
- Standing Orders of the Regents
- Standing Order 103.1 Service Obligations
- University of California Conflict of Interest Code
- Conflict of Interest Policy and Compendium of Specialized University Policies, Guidelines, and Regulations Related to Conflict of Interest (Business and Finance Bulletin G39)
- UCOP Policy on Disclosure of Financial Interests and Management of Conflicts of Interest Related to Sponsored Projects
- Academic Personnel Manual (APM) 025 Conflict of Commitment and Outside Activities of Faculty Members
Clause I.66 – Department of Energy Acquisition Regulations (DEAR) 952.209-72 Organizational Conflict of Interest (JUN 1997) (Alternate I) (JUN 1997) “The purpose of this clause is to ensure that the Contractor (1) is not biased because of its financial, contractual, organizational, or other interests which relate to the work under [Contract 31], and (2) does not obtain any unfair competitive advantage over other parties by virtue of its performance of this contract.”
See Organizational COI Power Point (in pdf).
Clause I.78 (DEAR 970.0371) Conduct of Employees
970.0371-4 Gratuities: Employees shall not accept gratuities under circumstances that might be interpreted as an attempt to influence a decision.
970.0371-6, 7, 8 Outside Employment: Must not interfere with proper and effective performance of Laboratory duties, appear to create a conflict of interest, or appear to subject DOE or the University to public criticism or embarrassment. (Follow approval process at RRM 10.02.) If an employee’s personal concerns are not compatible with the interests of the Government in a particular matter, the employee must recuse himself or herself from influencing the decision. Employees are expected to disclose to the Laboratory any incompatibilities between their Laboratory duties and their private interests.
Clause I.92 – DEAR 970.5227-3 Technology Transfer Mission “This clause has as its purpose implementation of the National Competitiveness Technology Transfer Act of 1989 (Sections 3131, 3132, 3133, and 3157 of Pub.L. 101-189 and as amended by Pub. L. 103-160, sections 3134 and 3160). The contractor shall conduct technology transfer activities with a purpose of providing benefit from Federal research to U.S. industrial competiveness.”
See specifically, section (d) Conflicts of Interest – Technology Transfer, section (e) Fairness of Opportunity, (f) U.S. Industrial Competitiveness for Licensing and Assignments of Intellectual Property. More information is available from the LBNL Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Department.
State of California Law as Applied to UC
Under the California Political Reform Act of 1974 (PRA), all public agencies are required to adopt a conflict of interest code that designates positions required to file Statements of Economic Interests (Form 700), and assigns disclosure categories specifying the types of interests to be reported. The Form 700 is a public document intended to alert public officials and members of the public to the types of financial interests that may create conflicts of interests. Accordingly, UC’s Conflict of Interest Code requires that certain Laboratory officials called Designated Officials disclose their private economic interests and that all Laboratory employees disqualify themselves from participating in decisions in which they have a personal financial interest. The University’s approved COI Code has the force of law and any violation of the Code by a designated employee is deemed a violation of the Political Reform Act. The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) administers, interprets and enforces the PRA, including fining individuals for instances of non-compliance.
Designated Officials are required to file Assuming Office, Annual, and Leaving Office Statements of Economic Interest (Form 700). Assuming Office and Leaving Office Statements are coordinated by the LBNL Human Resources Department; Annual Statements are coordinated by the University of California Conflict of Interest Office, which is the office of record for these statements. In addition, University employees may be subject to post-employment restrictions.
One-Year Ban. First, the [Political Reform] Act prohibits [designated] officials, for one year after leaving [UC] service, from representing any other person by appearing before or communicating with, for compensation, [UC] in an attempt to influence [UC] decisions that involve the making of general rules (such as regulations or legislation), or to influence certain proceedings involving a permit, license, contract, or transaction involving the sale or purchase of property or goods. (Government Code section 87406 ; Regs. 18746.1 and 18746.2.)
Permanent Ban on “Switching Sides.” Second, under the Act, [designated] officials are permanently barred from working on the other side of a proceeding that they participated in while working for [UC]. An official may not represent any other person (by appearing before or communicating with) and may not aid, advise, counsel, consult or assist in representing any other person, for compensation, before any state administrative agency in a proceeding involving specific parties (for example, a lawsuit, a hearing before an administrative law judge, or a state contract) in which the official participated. (Sections 87400-87405; Reg. 18741.1.)
Prospective Employers. The Act also prohibits [University employees] from making, participating in making, or influencing a governmental decision that directly relates to a prospective employer. (Section 87407; Reg. 18747.)
State of California Related Links:
- List of Designated Positions and Disclosure Categories
- State of California Fair Political Practices Commission provides the following (see publications):
- Can I Vote? COI Law Overview (Self-disqualification)
- Revolving Door and Other Post-Employment Issues 08/2010