Update of Conflict of Interest Questions in IACUC Protocol Forms

Last August, the University community was apprised that the Public Health Service (PHS) had revised regulations related to conflict of interest. In response, the University updated its procedures for soliciting information related to conflicts of interest, as well as management of potential conflicts of interest.


Information about the updated regulations and related University policies is available on the Conflict of Interest Office website: http://www.coi.pitt.edu.


The IACUC has updated the questions in protocol forms related to conflict of interest. In the future, when completing a protocol application via Animal Research Online ( http://www.aro.pitt.edu), investigators will be required to answer one of two sets of questions related to conflict of interest. If the study described in the protocol is funded in part or in total by PHS agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration), the questions provided will reflect the new mandates required by PHS regulations and related University policies. If the study is not funded by PHS agencies, questions similar to those asked in the past will be provided. For existing studies that are modified using the ARO system, the system will automatically prompt investigators to answer the new conflict of interest questions when a new modification is submitted.


If an approved protocol in the ARO system is not modified before the next annual renewal, an IACUC Office staff member will prompt the principal investigator to open protocols related to PHS-funded studies via the modification process and answer the revised conflict of interest questions. Protocols that do not indicate a PHS funding source will not need to be updated at annual renewal, although as noted above the new conflict of interest questions must be completed the first time the protocol is modified.


For protocols that have not yet been transitioned to the electronic ARO system (i.e., protocols submitted prior to January, 2012 as Microsoft Word documents), the IACUC Office will include the revised conflict of interest questions in the annual renewal form. These questions must be answered in order for the annual renewal to be processed.


As a reminder, any investigator can transition an older protocol submitted as a Word document to the ARO system at any point, without waiting to complete a required "three year renewal". The ARO system has many benefits that streamline the completion and management of IACUC protocols. Such submissions will be subject to the standard IACUC review process.