On Dec. 20, 2021, the Department of Energy issued an interim conflict of interest (COI) policy that addresses both financial and organizational conflicts of interest, which will be incorporated in and made enforceable through the Special Terms and Conditions for DOE financial assistance awards. The interim COI policy establishes standards that provide a reasonable expectation that the design, conduct, and reporting of projects wholly or in part funded under DOE financial assistance awards (e.g., a grant, cooperative agreement, or technology investment agreement) will be free from bias resulting from financial conflicts of interest or organizational conflicts of interest. As used in this announcement, reference to DOE includes both DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
The interim policy requires each Investigator who is planning to participate in the DOE award to disclose the Investigator’s significant financial interests (and those of the Investigator’s spouse and dependent children) to UGA no later than the time of proposal for the DOE award. Disclosures must be made at least annually, thereafter, and within 30 days of acquiring a new significant financial interest. Disclosures of significant financial interests should be made to UGA via the Grants Portal. In addition, an Investigator may need to disclose the significant financial interest on UGA’s Compensated Outside Activities Approval Form. See UGA’s Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities Policy.
Finally, the DOE interim policy requires Investigator complete COI training prior to engaging in projects related to any DOE financial assistance award and at least every four years. Investigators can complete the CITI COI training module through UGA’s Professional Educational Portal (PEP).