NIH Public-Private Partnership Program

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Conflicts of Interest

The potential for conflict of interest exists any time the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NIH staff engage with non-Federal entities to achieve mutual goals. NIH public-private partnerships must ensure that institutional conflicts of interest, real or apparent, are reduced, managed, or avoided. NIH employees must ensure that all partnerships are aligned with the scientific and health mission of the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) involved and the NIH as a whole.

For individual employees engaged in public-private partnerships (PPPs) activities, it is important to note that PPPs are part of the usual business of the NIH to promote science and the public health. Therefore, such partnerships are official duty activities — not outside activities. Accordingly, NIH employees may not engage in partnerships with entities in which they have financial interests or outside relationships absent a waiver or authorization issued in consultation with the appropriate IC ethics official.

NIH employees who have questions about the Federal government standards of conduct, conflicts of interest, or other government or NIH policies concerning ethics rules should contact their Deputy Ethics Counselor (PDF, 1 page) image of a PDF icon. Please visit for additional details about ethics rules and standards of conduct.

The PPP Program staff can help you to identify potential or actual conflicts of interest in a partnership. For additional information or support please visit the NIH PPP Program description.


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This page last updated: October 6, 2010