Conflicts of interest in research

coiA conflict of interest (COI) arises in situations in which financial or other personal considerations have the potential to compromise or bias professional judgment and objectivity. Conflicts of interest are not unusual in a modern academic setting but must be addressed in order to provide transparency and protect research integrity. The COI in Research Program administers activities related to reporting, assessing, and managing financial and non-financial interests for the university research enterprise. 


The Activity and Interest Reporting System (AIRS) is an electronic Research Administration Management System (RAMS) for the reporting of interests pertaining to research. 'COI Investigators', designated by the PI as having responsibility and independence in the design, conduct, and reporting of research, report interests in their Financial Interest Report (FIR).

How to complete your annual FIR update

A quick guide to AIRS and your financial interest report (FIR)
Log in to AIRS starting on May 10th



Federal regulations

State law


Internal guidance

External guidance

Conflict of interest committee

The Conflict of Interest in Research Committee (COIC) is a standing committee of the university, composed of faculty, administrative personnel, and ex-officio members, convened under the authority of the vice president for research and innovation. The COIC is charged to evaluate investigator reports of research-related financial and non-financial interests and to determine an appropriate resolution, including the development of a management strategy, as appropriate. Committee members are required to adhere to applicable rules of privacy and confidentiality pertaining to conflict of interest review. The COIC members are:

  • Gretchen Brophy, Pharm.D., BCPS, FCCP, FCCMSchool of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacotherapy & Outcomes Science;  School of Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery
  • Alan Dow, M.D., MSHA - School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine; Asst vice president of Health Sciences for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care
  • Robert Klenke, Ph.D. - College of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Joyce Lloyd, Ph.D. - School of Medicine, Department of Human and Molecular Genetics;  Associate dean, VCU Graduate School
  • Caley Dugan, MHA - COIC Chair; Director, Office of Research Integrity and Ethics
  • Jason Reed, Ph.D. - College of Humanities and Sciences, Department of Physics
  • Richard Sterling, M.D. - School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition