Conflicts of Interest and Outside Activities:

Faculty have an obligation to fully and consistently disclose resources, relationships and commitments to Harvard Medical School, external funders, publishers and the public. Harvard Medical School requires the reporting of all Outside Activities (paid or unpaid) broadly relevant to one’s institutional role through the Outside Activities & Interests Reporting Portal. These include:  

  • Financial and equity interests in outside entities
  • Direct payments or salary support paid to you by an outside entity
  • Sponsored Travel (unless travel is sponsored by a US university, hospital, research institute or US governmental entity)
  • Outside activities with any foreign entity
  • Appointments, positions, or affiliations with any institution outside of HMS or an HMS/Harvard Affiliate
  • Research activities (paid or unpaid, including grants and sponsored research) that you are engaged in outside Harvard
  • Stipends, housing allowances or travel paid by an outside entity

Activities that DO NOT need to be reported to as an Outside Activity (but may need to be reported to sponsors, journals or collaborators) include:

  • Financial interests or uncompensated activities from a charitable institution of higher education located in the United States.
  • Financial interests in or uncompensated activities with US federal, state or local government agencies (U.S. only!).
  • Sponsored research/grant support to HMS or an affiliated institution.
  • Salary support or other income paid by HMS, an affiliated institution or any other academic teaching hospital, medical center, or a US research institute that is affiliated with a charitable institution of higher education (U.S. only!).

For support with Financial Conflict of Interest or Outside Activity Reporting, please contact outside_activities@hms.harvard.edu. Further information is available on the Harvard Medical School Academic and Research Integrity Outside Activities Website.

How much time can I spend on Outside Activities?

An Outside Activity is any engagement with an outside entity that relies upon the experiences and professional expertise that serve as the basis for your faculty appointment but is conducted in your personal capacity and not part of your institutional responsibilities.  Full-time faculty are reminded that Outside Activities must be limited to no more than 20% of their total professional time. If you are engaging with a company or institution in your personal capacity, you may be asked to sign an agreement with them. Be mindful that there may be terms and conditions proposed in the agreement that conflict with your institutional obligations, institutional policies or are otherwise inconsistent with Harvard Medical School’s research integrity principles.  For this reason, all consulting agreements should be reviewed by the Office for Academic and Research Integrity before signing.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you arrange your outside activities and commitments in a manner that fully complies with applicable institutional policies and regulations


Faculty are encourage to review the Best Practices for Outside Activity Agreements before engaging in an outside activity agreement or arrangement.

Faculty are encourage to review the examples of Problematic Terms and Conditions in Outside Activities Agreements before engaging in an outside activity agreement or arrangement.


Reporting Outside Activities on Other Support Pages:

In and of themselves, Outside Activities DO NOT need to be reported on Other Support Pages; however, if an Outside Activity is also providing you with resources that you can use towards your research endeavors, then the resource that the Outside Activity provides should be included on your Other Support Page.  To assist you in evaluating if an Outside Activity should also be disclosed as Other Support, please see the Other Support and Outside Activities Overlap guidance document.

 

Resources:

HMS Outside Activities Website

HMS Office of Academic and Research Integrity

HMS Policy on Conflicts of Interest and Commitment

Outside Activities & Interests Reporting Portal

Other Support and Outside Activities Overlap guidance document

Harvard OVPR Guidance for Researchers in Addressing Faculty Disclosures & Intellectual Property Protection

Statement on Outside Activities of Holders of Academic Appointments

Problematic terms and conditions in Outside Activities Agreements

Best Practices for Outside Activity Agreements