Conflict of interest management in the Canadian COVID research reality
To ensure that the CITF’s work proceeds apace, the Task Force Executive Committee (EC), Leadership Group (LG), and Working Parties (WP or WPs) include not only representatives from federal sponsors and provincial partners, but a range of researchers from across Canada who have distinguished themselves in relevant fields of inquiry. The inevitable result is that many LG and WP members are themselves involved with key research teams that are potential candidates for financial support from the CITF. The Task Force co-chairs and federal sponsors are aware of this structural anomaly. They are fully committed to processes that manage the potential conflicts of interest (COI) it creates. At the same time, this unusual situation means that all those involved with the work of the Task Force must conduct themselves with careful attention to perceived and actual conflicts of interest.
Conflict of interest is defined as a tension between duties and responsibilities, and private, professional, business, or public interests. There may be a real, perceived, or potential conflict of interest when someone:
- Receives professional or personal benefit resulting from the funding opportunity or application being reviewed;
- Has a professional or personal relationship with an applicant or the applicant’s institution; or
- Has a direct or indirect financial interest in a funding opportunity or application being reviewed.