Conflict of Interest in Research Committee (CIRC)

When an investigator (faculty, staff, or student) involved in research has a financial conflict of interest, the interest must be evaluated in accordance with University policy so as to avoid violation of state or federal law and/or basic principles of ethics and fairness.  Appointed by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the University of Iowa Conflict of Interest in Research Committee (CIRC) includes faculty representing a broad range of research disciplines and a representative of the Graduate College. In addition to its regular membership, the CIRC includes a number of non-voting advisory members from various administrative offices.

The current members are:

Ned Bowden - Chemistry
Kim Brogden - College of Dentistry
Christopher Coffey - Biostatistics
James Cremer - Computer Science
Robert Kerns - Medicinal & Natural Products Chemistry                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Erik Lie - Finance
Delwyn Miller - (Chair) Psychiatry
Kathy Schuh - Psychological & Quantitative Foundations
Elizabeth Swanson - Nursing
Xiaodong Wu - Electrical and Computer Engineering

Responsibilities

The CIRC is charged with the following responsibilities:

  1. reviewing financial conflicts of interest disclosed to the institution by University investigators to determine whether such interests could affect the design, conduct, or reporting of research activities;
  2. considering in the review of the disclosure the nature of the research, the magnitude or potential magnitude of the interest and the degree to which the potential conflict is related to the research, the extent to which the interest could be directly and significantly affected by the research, and any conflict management strategies proposed or already in place;
  3. developing management strategies to address conflicts or potential conflicts of interest to assure that the investigator may satisfy his/her research obligations in an objective manner and to avoid and/or mitigate concerns of bias;
  4. recommending to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development measures appropriate to ensure the management, reduction, or elimination of such interests.

Meetings

CIRC meetings are closed to the public and documentation/records considered or created by the CIRC are treated as confidential personnel records.

No CIRC member may participate in the review of a disclosed financial interest if he/she has an interest or other relationship that may affect the objectivity of review, except to provide information requested by the Committee.

Management Plans

After consideration of the financial conflicts of interest, the research project, and all related materials, the CIRC develops a management plan, if possible.  Management plans include specific action items to be carried out by the investigator with the financial conflict of interest.  (see Scenarios)

The proposed management plan is reviewed by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development who has the authority to accept, reject, or amend it.  The investigator is required to sign the management plan and return it to the Conflict of Interest in Research Office.  A copy of the signed management plan is sent to the investigator's departmental executive officer and dean, the Human Subjects Office (if applicable), Sponsored Programs, and to the principal investigator of the study, if different from the investigator.  This notice to Sponsored Programs and the Human Subjects serves as the signal  for these offices to move toward finalization of their processes.