Van Andel Institute (VAI) is committed to fostering and maintaining the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct in all Institute activities. A conflict of interest occurs when there is a divergence between an individual’s private interests and his or her professional obligations to VAI, such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the individual’s professional actions or decisions are determined by considerations of personal gain, financial or otherwise. Conflicts of commitment occur when an employee’s engagement in outside activities compromises his or her commitment to VAI. Conflicts of commitment often involve issues of time allocation.
In August of 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final revised rule that amends the Public Health Service (PHS) regulations on Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which PHS Funding is Sought (42 C.F.R. Part 50, Subpart F) and Responsible Prospective Contractors (45 C.F.R. Part 94). Changes resulting from this revised ruling have been incorporated into Institute’s policies regarding conflicts of interest:
In accordance with the Institute’s Financial Conflict of Interest Policy, Conflict of Commitments Policy and Institutional Conflict of Interest Policy, all VAI employees will report their external commitments and financial interests in a timely manner, and real and apparent financial conflicts of interest of research personnel will be identified and responsibly managed as described within these policies.