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Organizational and consulting conflicts of interest

Organizational and consulting conflicts of interest

Increasingly, federal sponsors of contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements ask applicants to disclose if actual or potential organizational or consulting conflicts of interest (OCCI) exist. OCCIs differ from individual financial conflicts of interest (COIs). Requests for OCCI information appear in the “Eligibility”, “Organizational Conflicts of Interest”, or other sections of funding opportunity announcements (FOA).

OCCIs relate to the university and its employees as one organization. When a university employee consults with or provides service to a federal agency, the agency considers that person a representative of the university, regardless that the individual made a private consulting arrangement, including a non-disclosure agreement.

Consulting or providing services includes:

  • providing scientific, engineering or technical direction
  • serving as an advisor and providing analysis, assistance or evaluation services
  • preparing specifications or work statements for funding opportunities

Organizational conflicts may result when an individual:

  • has access to information not available to others who compete for funding
  • contributes to developing a scope of work for a Request for Proposal (RFP) and later ASU researchers respond to the RFP
  • evaluates proposals or products developed by the university or a competitor

Faculty participation in federal agency peer review committees, proposal development or performance on a sponsored research, instruction or services project is not considered an OCCI.

Federal regulations concerning OCCI are intended to ensure that contracting serves the public interest and the contracting process is conducted objectively, without bias or unfair advantage.

To respond to sponsor’s application requirements, proposed key personnel, subawardees, and consultants must disclose activities and relationships that are or may be perceived as OCCIs. If a potential OCCI is identified, the Research Advancement Administrator (RA) informs the Proposals and Negotiations Team's (PNT) Grants and Contracts Officer (GCO) who arranges for an OCCI review. Objectives of an internal OCCI review are to determine if an actual or perceived conflict exists, develop response to sponsor as required in Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), and develop a plan to manage, mitigate or avoid the conflict.

Please send questions to


  • Office of Management and Budget “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” 2 CFR 200.318 and 2 CFR 215.42.
  • FAR Subparts 2.101 and 9.5 and FAR Agency Supplements (e.g., DFARS 209.5, NFS 1809.500).