Reminder of Conflict of Interest: The following excerpts from the NIH Procedures for Avoiding Conflict of Interest for Advisory Committee Members Manual should be called to the attention of Council members:
Policy: Special government employees serving as members of advisory committees must avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest. Responsible staff shall ensure that the procedures used to avoid conflicts of interest are followed including a committee member leaving the room during reviews of applications or projects which, to the member's knowledge, any of the following has a financial interest: the member; his or her spouse; minor child; general partner; organization which the member serves as an officer, director, trustee, general partner, or employee; or organization with which the member is seeking employment.
To document that a member does not participate in the discussion or vote on an application in which there is a potential conflict as described above, a statement to that effect is provided for the minutes and this statement becomes a part of the meeting file.
At Council meetings when applications are reviewed in groups without discussion or identification of institutions, i.e., "en bloc" actions, all Council members may be present and may participate. The vote of an individual member in such instances does not apply to applications from any institutions in which the member might be in conflict.
State Multi-Campus Institutions: A member who is employed by one campus of a state multi-campus institution may participate in the review of an application from another campus of the institution if the member does not hold a position with multi-campus responsibilities.
Private Institutions and Affiliates: A member who is employed by a private institution may participate in the review of an application from an affiliate of the private institution if the member does not hold a joint appointment with that affiliate, the member does not have affiliate-wide responsibilities, and the member has a conflict of interest waiver allowing the member to participate.
Confidentiality: Members are reminded that all materials furnished for review purposes and discussions held during the closed portions of the meetings are considered privileged information. The contents of those documents and the outcome of those discussions during closed sessions may be disclosed only by staff and only under appropriate circumstances. All communications from investigators to Council members regarding actions on applications must be referred to the executive secretary. Attempts by members to address questions from applicants are not within established procedures and are inappropriate.