We believe in integrity in our teaching, research, outreach, and business activities. Disclosing interests, activities, and relationships that could be perceived as conflicts of interests with an employee's institutional responsibilities is an important part of that value. Transparency is a critical component of avoiding or mitigating any conflict of interests, and provides trust in university operations.

The Division of Institutional Compliance & Privacy oversees the University's Conflict of Interest Policy and procedures. We provide guidance to Auburn University main campus (AU), Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM), the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES) to ensure university compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. COI disclosure is vital to preserving a culture of compliance and ethics throughout all four divisions of Auburn University.

Jan. 29, 2024

We have transitioned our COI disclosures to the "Endeavor" COI Module as of January 2024. Full-time employees were notified via email to log in to Endeavor and complete their COI disclosure profile. Informational sessions regarding this transition included:

AU Faculty Senate October 24, 2023

AUM Staff Council Nov. 7, 2023

AUM Faculty Senate November 10, 2023

AU Staff Council December 5, 2023

AU A&P Assembly January 24, 2024

More information on the Endeavor ERA system

What is a conflict?

A conflict of interest exists where an employee or their immediate family member has a personal interest in or receives a personal financial, economic, professional, or personal gain or advantage of any kind from the employee's position in a manner that may inappropriately influence the employee's judgment, compromise the employee's ability to carry out Auburn institutional responsibilities, or be a detriment to Auburn's integrity.

Some examples include:

  • Engaging in outside employment or activities that compete with your institutional responsibilities or occur during your normal Auburn working hours

  • Hiring, supervising, or being in the chain of command a family member; or entering a contract with a family member in your Auburn role

  • Accepting gifts from Auburn vendors to improperly influence your Auburn decisions or actions

  • Receiving consulting fees from a company or organization that also sponsors your research and related activities at Auburn

All employees must disclose outside interests and activities with entities that are related to their institutional responsibilities, do business with the institution, or sponsor research at the institution. These situations could create a real or perceived conflict of interest or conflict of commitment. When deemed necessary, a plan to manage, mitigate or eliminate the conflict will be developed by the employee with their supervisor and approved through their chain of supervision and the Division of Institutional Compliance and Privacy or the Office of Research Compliance.

Disclosures should include:

  • Compensation received from any entity other than Auburn University. This includes outside employment, consulting fees, paid travel, intellectual property, stock/stock options, royalties, etc. (Note: You do NOT need to disclose your spouse's or child's primary employment if it has no relation to AU [not related to your AU work, not a vendor for AU, and not a research sponsor for AU.])

  • Ownership interests or leadership positions in any legal entity. This includes owner of an LLC, sole proprietorship, or other business entity, CEO, President, Scientific Advisor, etc. (Note: you do NOT need to disclose stock in retirement accounts or other investment accounts, or if you own less than 5% of a publicly traded company).

  • Board positions for companies or organizations, whether paid or unpaid, such as Chair/President, Treasurer, Advisor, etc. (Note: you do NOT need to disclose a leadership position for a professional organization related to your AU job that you are acting in your AU role and representing AU.)

  • Other professional activities related or unrelated to your university work, which occur on a regular basis, whether paid or unpaid. Examples include operating online shops, commercial websites, social media business accounts, or other professional services (lawn and landscape, realty/real estate, information technology, HVAC, consulting, accounting/bookkeeping, legal, etc.)

  • Interests in foreign entities, including but not limited to appointments or titles, contracts or agreements, laboratories, courses or lectures, collaborations, publications, gifts or other support (students, lab space, equipment, grants), consulting, travel, and visiting scholars. (Note: you do NOT need to disclose other Auburn employees who are foreign nationals that you collaborate with).

  • Family members who also work at the university. This includes full-time, TES, GTAs, GAs, and student workers. (Note: you should also disclose if your relative is a student in your department in the open ended question).

  • Personal relationships with Auburn vendors or affiliates that may appear to improperly influence your Auburn decisions or actions. This includes romantic relationships with vendors.

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Annual Disclosure

All full-time employees must complete the COI disclosure online annually. The system sent automated e-mails to full-time employees in January and February notifying you to complete your dislcosure profile in the system. New employees will recieve an automated e-mail notification and must complete the COI disclosure within 30 days of hire and annually thereafter. The new COI Disclosure must be completed in Endeavor by existing full-time employees by March 1, 2024.

Update Your Disclosure

You must update your disclosure throughout the year if you acquire any new interests, activities, or relationships. This must occur within 30 days of acquiring the new interest. You may revise your answers at any time throughout the year if your interests change. Log into Endeavor, click on the COI tab, select your disclosure profile, and click "Edit Disclosure Profile." Use the menu on the left to navigate to the section you wish to update. Be sure to click "Complete Disclosure Profile Update" on the last page to submit your changes.

The old system, COI-Smart, will not be active after March 1, 2024.


Research Compliance

Conflict of Interest in Research and Sponsored Activities

The Office of Research Compliance oversees Financial Conflicts of Interest (FCOI) related to research, technology comercialization, and related activities; as well as Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research (RCR), to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Please visit their website for additional information and resources related to conflicts of interest in research.

Office of Research Compliance


The management plan protects both the employee and the institution. It provides safeguards that the employee follows and oversight from an oversight manager (typically the employee's supervisor) to provide guidance on how to continue to engage in the outside activity, maintain the personal interest, or work with family members in a compliant manner consistent with the Conflict of Interests Policy, the Alabama Ethics Law, and federal research requirements.

Once we review employee disclosures, we will contact you if we need additional information or if there appears to be a conflict or potential conflict that needs a management plan.

If you have a conflict of interest that needs to be managed, contact the Division of Institutional Compliance & Privacy for assistance, or the Office of Research Integrity & Compliance for research-related conflicts. Send us a draft of your COI management plan for review and electronic signature. 

Template Management Plans

COI Training

Courses are available through HRD in AU Access. Check the HRD training calendar for available dates and times, and to register for the courses. The e-learning course may be taken at any time at your convenience. Contact us to schedule a departmental workshop or to have us visit during your next departmental meeting.


CR501E: Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment 
Self-paced modules covering an overview of COI completed in 45 minutes.

Register for CR501E

Virtual Live Training

RM104V: Endeavor Conflict of Interest Module

Mon. March 25, 2024, 2:30 - 3:30pm Zoom

Register for RM104V

Departmental Session

Contact us to schedule a personalized training for your department. We can provide a 1-2 hour workshop, or a 10-15 minute presentation for your faculty/staff meeting.

Email Compliance


Last updated: 04/09/2024