Although the Conflict of Interest Committee will evaluate the situation on a case-by-case basis, students are typically prohibited from working for a faculty member’s outside interests. If a faculty member’s outside interest sponsors research in his/her University laboratory, the student would be allowed to participate in research funded by the company.
For example, a student would not be allowed to work for a start-up company owned by a faculty member under any circumstances without an exception from the COI Committee. But, if the faculty member’s start-up company subcontracted research work through the University to the faculty member’s University laboratory, the student would be allowed to work on the University research project.
Students may work for public companies in which a faculty member happens to have an interest. For example, if a doctoral student’s mentor does consulting work for a public company, the student would not be prohibited from having an internship at that company.
The Conflict of Interest Committee must ensure that the student is protected from an undue biases and inappropriate pressures from senior researchers which is why the prohibition on students working for faculty members’ outside interests is in place.
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