Identifying and Handling a Conflict of Interest in NCGP processes
The ARC Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy is designed so that all material personal interests are disclosed. This will support the identification and management of conflicts of interest in a rigorous and transparent way that ensures the integrity, legitimacy, impartiality and fairness of ARC processes and the ARC’s administration of Australian Government resources. Management of conflicts of interest in this way is designed to maintain public confidence in the ARC’s business processes and ensure that both ARC-funded projects and research outcomes supports and primarily benefits the Australian community.
The information on this page is designed to assist ARC assessors and participants on ARC grant applications to apply the ARC Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy.
For the implementation of the policy the ARC distinguishes between organisational and individual conflicts of interest.
Organisational conflicts of interest
An individual may be considered to have a conflict of interest with an organisation for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, if that individual:
- is employed by that organisation;
- has been employed by that organisation within the past two years;
- has an arrangement for future employment or is negotiating employment at that organisation;
- holds a financial interest in that organisation;
- is affiliated with or holds an appointment with that organisation, but only where the individual would reasonably be perceived to have a conflict of interest regarding grant applications or funded projects involving that organisation (e.g. where a researcher holds an honorary position and receives financial support). Non-remunerated appointments are not generally considered to give rise to a conflict of interest unless other factors arise (such as collaboration or co-authorship, appointments enabling strategic decisions over research in the organisation or association with a foreign sponsored talent recruitment programs) are also present.
Handling of organisational conflicts of interest
All individuals involved with any ARC business must maintain an update-to-date RMS profile, including disclosure of material personal interests, current employment details and previous employment history within the past two years. This information will assist the ARC with the identification and management of organisational conflicts of interest.
Individuals participating in ARC grant applications and ARC-funded projects must declare their material personal interests (including organisational conflicts of interest with participating organisations) to the Administering Organisation in accordance with their institution’s conflict of interest policies and procedures, the relevant ARC Grant Guidelines and Grant Agreement and the ARC Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy.
Individual conflicts of interest
An individual may be considered to have a conflict of interest with a named participant on a grant application or funded project for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, if that individual:
- has a close personal relationship (including enmity) with that named participant;
- has a professional relationship with that named participant including:
- currently holds, or has held within the past two years, funding conjointly with that named participant;
- has a current application or is negotiating an application for funding with that named participant;
- has been a collaborator or co-author with that named participant on a research output within the past four years;
- has been a co-editor with that named participant of a book, journal, compendium, or conference proceedings within the past two years;
- has been a postgraduate student or supervisor of that named participant within the past five years;
- could otherwise be perceived to benefit materially from the awarding of funding to the grant application involving that named participant.
An individual may also be considered to have a conflict of interest if that individual has a material personal interest that is in conflict with their obligations to the ARC:
- as an ARC assessor; or
- under the conditions of a grant for ARC-funded research.
Handling of individual conflicts of interest
Assessors reviewing ARC grant application who have identified a conflict of interest must reject the grant application assigned in RMS to assist the ARC in the management of conflicts of interest.
Individuals applying for ARC funding have the opportunity to nominate persons whom they do not wish to assess a grant application by submitting a Request Not to Assess to the ARC through their Research Office. However, they should familiarise themselves with the above information before submitting a Request Not to Assess, as in many cases the submission of a Request Not to Assess may not be necessary.
Declaration of material personal interests
Individuals must consider and disclose their material personal interests in all possible areas, including:
- professional positions
- membership of committees of other organisations
- boards of directors
- advisory groups
- professional relationships
- family and personal relationships
- financial interests, including receiving recompense in the form of cash, services or equipment from other parties to support research activities, including foreign financial support and participation in a foreign sponsored talent recruitment program, or
- association or affiliations with a foreign government, foreign political party, foreign state-owned enterprise and/or a foreign policy organisation.
The ARC’s expectation is that RMS profile information is kept up-to-date during the individual’s engagement with the ARC as a General Assessor or participant on an ARC-funded project.
The identification of a material personal interest does not prevent an individual from applying or holding ARC grants but does ensure the transparency of interests of those involved in ARC business.