The University of Gdańsk's new Conflict of Interest Policy will support several units that work with, among others, the external community. The document sets out the standards of action that the University and its staff apply to prevent, identify and manage conflicts of interest.
The development and implementation of the Conflict of Interest Policy at the University of Gdańsk has been recognised by the Council of the University of Gdańsk (by resolution of January 20, 2023) as an essential objective for the development of the university's activities in the socio-economic field.
- Adopting solutions for counteracting, correctly identifying and managing conflicts of interest and disseminating information about these solutions among the University of Gdańsk community is an important element of proper university management and is essential for establishing effective and transparent cooperation with business partners - said prof. dr hab. Piotr Stepnowski, Rector of the University of Gdańsk. - I would like to thank for the work of all those involved in its preparation, not only the administrative units but also our scientists and representatives of spin-off companies, the Senate Committee for Organisation and Development and the Deans who co-created the document.
The strategy is a response to, among other things, the new procurement rules published in the State Purchasing Policy, the new guidelines for the eligibility of expenditure for 2021 - 2027 and the new project selection criteria under the European Funds for the Modern Economy (FENG) 2021 - 2027 programme for action 2.1 International Research Agendas.
- In previous financial perspectives, the European Commission mainly focused on issues of state aid or equal opportunities, but it is now paying particular attention to conflicts of interest - says Ewa Weronis, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Strategic Projects.
A dedicated Conflict of Interest Team at UG will implement and communicate the Policy. The unit will support all those seeking answers to questions, their projects and project consortia being built, and specifications for tenders etc., comply with common law and the guidelines of the programmes under which they seek funding.
Subject matter and administrative experts will be involved in the Team. The rules regarding applying the Policy to established spin-off companies will be set out in a separate document.
- Our Policy is only a certain framework considering all other regulations, including the Teacher Code of Ethics. We are very keen to continue commercialising research results, obtaining patents, setting up spin-off companies and, above all, generating income from our expert services and activities. We want to do this in a clear and transparent manner so that each employee feels that, within the framework of their workplace and the rules we set together, such activities will be accepted and, at the same time, will create conditions for generating income from services that are reported under criterion II of the parametric assessment - explains Vice-Rector for Cooperation and Development dr. hab. Sylwia Mrozowska, prof. UG.
A consistent definition of the principles to which UG's activities are subject when implementing, among other things, intellectual property is one of the basic criteria for properly conducted commercialisation. Due to the constant intermingling of the publicly funded sphere with the socio-economic sector, the establishment of an unambiguous process of conduct will allow for the prevention and proper management of unavoidable conflicts of interest.
- In a situation where the number of inventions submitted to Polish and international protection institutions is increasing, where the University's involvement in cooperation with the economy is steadily growing, and where more special-purpose companies are being established with the University's participation, it is necessary to take care of the safety of its employees, especially those directly involved in the development of the University of Gdańsk - says Katarzyna Gronowska, Director of the Technology Transfer Centre at the University of Gdańsk.
UG's new Conflict of Interest Policy also leads to an even more impartial and transparent procurement process. - It seems expedient to provide a recipe for avoiding a troublesome situation. In the case of public procurement, the solution is simple - in order to avoid a real conflict of interest, we should exclude ourselves or be excluded from the public procurement process - says Sebastian Kruszyński, Director of the UG Public Procurement Centre.
The appearance of such a document also facilitates some of the application processes for funding. It is particularly important for two International Research Agencies of the University of Gdańsk: International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science (ICCVS) and International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies (ICTQT). The regulation preventing interest conflict is now a formal condition for submitting a project proposal to continue the MAB, as emphasised by the Director of ICTQT UG prof. dr hab. Marek Żukowski.
According to the Director of the Office of Cooperation and Development, Monika Adamczuk, the next steps in the implementation of the Policy will be the preparation of an information and communication campaign for UG employees based on the proposal of the members of the Senate Committee on Organisation and Development, and the creation of a team for the implementation of the Policy. An information meeting will be held on June 21 at 11.30 am in auditorium 0.34 at the Faculty of Philology, during which the Vice-Rector for Cooperation and Development, dr hab. Sylwia Mrozowska, prof. UG. together with her team, will present the most critical assumptions of the new policy.
- In the meantime, we would like to invite you to the Office for Cooperation and Development (room 609, the new Rectorate), which will serve as a consultation point - said Monika Adamczuk.