Although some of these provisions may have been discussed in the examples provided above, they are included in this list for the sake of completeness.

1) Faculty must maintain a significant physical presence on campus (main or others) throughout each semester they are on active duty. Significant physical presence on campus: A full-time appointment conveys an obligation for a faculty member to have a significant physical presence on campus (main or others), to be accessible to students and staff, and to be available to interact with Koç University colleagues throughout every semester during which he/she is on active duty, unless the relevant Dean has granted specific prior approval for extended or frequent absences from campus for academic reasons. Because requirements for field research and other reasons for absence from campus differ across the University, Deans of Colleges may define for the individual faculty members what qualifies as inappropriate, extended or frequent absences.

2) Faculty must not allow other professional activities to detract from their primary allegiance to Koç University. For example, a faculty member on full-time active duty must not have significant outside managerial responsibilities and must not act as a Principal Investigator on sponsored projects that could be conducted at Koç University but instead are submitted and managed through another institution.

Limitations on outside professional activities: It is an appropriate role for the University to facilitate the transfer of the knowledge gained through academic research to applications that can benefit the general population. Moreover, experience gained by faculty in the course of outside professional activities can enhance their teaching and research or scholarship within the University. But the process of technology  transfer can create the potential for conflicts of commitment and/or interest, particularly when there is opportunity for personal gain on the part of the faculty. The intent of this provision of the policy is to minimize such conflicts and to provide means of managing them when they arise.

An implicit assumption underlying Koç University policy on outside professional activities by faculty members is that, such outside professional activities are a privilege and not a right and must not detract from a full-time obligation of the faculty member to his/her University duties. When any outside activity detracts from the conduct of University duties, a conflict of commitment would result and must be resolved.

Consulting: In general, consulting is defined as professional activity related to the field or discipline of a person, where a fee-for-service or equivalent relationship with a third party exists.

There are many types of consulting relations and fee arrangements, and the precise form entered into may vary. The principle is that, in consulting, a person agrees to use his or her professional capabilities to further the agenda of a third party, in return for an immediate or prospective financial (or other) gain. Activities or titles that constitute or imply managerial or supervisory responsibility are not permitted under Koç University conflict of commitment policies and are not allowable as consulting relations.

Faculty must avoid titles that include terms such as Executive Officer, Director, Manager, or Chief as they imply or indicate management responsibilities and create real or perceived conflicts of commitment. Situations may arise in which a Koç University faculty member is chosen to serve on a Board of Directors, Advisory Council or Scientific Advisory Board of a company or other institution. These appointments and titles are different from managerial roles and titles and are permitted in the context of consulting relations.

Consulting is permitted provided the full-time obligation of the faculty member to the University is met. The maximum number of consulting days permissible for a faculty member on a full-time appointment is 1 day per week, including university holidays. A limited amount of “averaging” of consulting time is permissible as long as the total amount of time is not more than 52 days per year. In addition to this general policy on consulting, varying University policies may be instituted in individual academic units, but such policies cannot reduce the limitations imposed by the University at large.

The responsibility for adhering to the limit on consulting days, and other aspects of Koç University consulting policy, lies first with the individual faculty member. Faculty members should resolve any questions and/or ambiguities with their Dean before the fact, so that the University community is not injured by their actions. The University has the right, and indeed the obligation, to protect itself from losses due to excess consulting and to seek reimbursement from the faculty member for salary and benefits covering time spent on consulting beyond the limits provided for by this policy, especially in cases where amounts are significant and the faculty member had not sought prior consultation or followed the advice given by his/her Dean. Faculty members have an obligation to report fully the level (i.e., number of days) of their consulting activities with the Office of the Dean so that the adherence to the principles set forth herein may be unambiguously determined.

Faculty members must be especially sensitive to potential conflicts of interest between their teaching and research responsibilities for graduate students working under their supervision and their outside consulting interests.

Faculty members are expected to share Koç University Requirements for Faculty Consulting Activities and Agreements document with the third party.

3) Faculty must foster an atmosphere of academic freedom by promoting the open and timely exchange of results of scholarly activities, by ensuring that their advising of students and postdoctoral scholars is independent of personal commercial interests, and by informing students and colleagues about outside obligations that might influence the free exchange of scholarly information between them and the faculty member.

Free and Open Exchange of Research Results: The integrity of the University as a community of scholars requires the free and open exchange of ideas and the results of scholarly activities. Faculty are obligated to maintain an atmosphere free from unwarranted external influences. Students and collaborators must be able to pursue topics of interest, have access to available information and facilities, and be able to communicate the results of their work to other scholars and the public. Therefore, faculty must ensure that;

a) The results of research or scholarship undertaken at Koç University are disseminated on an open and timely basis to the broader scholarly community and public,

b) The academic activities of students and postdoctoral scholars are free from the personal commercial interests of the faculty member; and

c) The work of students, staff, postdoctoral scholars and collaborators is not exploited in the course of a faculty member’s outside obligations. To this end, faculty members should be open about their involvements with and obligations to outside third parties who could benefit from the work or ideas of their students, staff, and colleagues. Similarly, students, associates, and staff should have access to information about the sources of funds that support their research.

4) Faculty may not use University resources, including facilities, personnel, equipment, or confidential information, except in a purely incidental way, as part of their outside consulting activities or for any other purposes that are unrelated to the education, research, scholarship, and public service missions of the University. Inappropriate use of University resources includes the following:

  • Assignment by the faculty member of tasks to the students, staff or postdoctoral scholars of the University for purposes of potential or real
    financial gain of the faculty member rather than the advancement of the
    scholarly field or the educational development of the students.
  • Involvement of the students or staff of the faculty member in his/her
    outside consulting or business activities without specific and detailed prior approval of the college/school Dean.
  • Granting of access to external entities to Koç University resources or
    services for purposes outside the missions of the University, or provision of inappropriate favors to outside entities in an attempt to unduly influence them in their dealings with the University.
  • Use for personal gain, by or granting unauthorized access to others, of confidential information acquired through conduct of University business or research activities. Confidential information includes, but is not limited to, medical, personnel, or security records of individuals; proprietary knowledge about corporate anticipated material requirements or price actions; and proprietary knowledge of possible new sites for government operations or information about forthcoming programs or selection of contractors or subcontractors in advance of official announcements.
  • Provision of preferential access to research results, materials or products generated from University teaching or research activities to an outside entity for personal financial gain. (This consideration would not preclude appropriate licensing arrangements for inventions, or consulting on the
    basis of sponsored project results where there is significant additional work or expertise involved).

5) Faculty must disclose on a timely basis the creation or discovery of all potentially patentable inventions created or discovered in the course of their University activities or with more than incidental use of University resources to Research, Project Development and Technology Transfer Directorate. Ownership of such inventions resides with the University regardless of source of funding. The inventor would share in royalties earned when the patent is licensed.

Faculty are urged to read Koç University Policy on Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer in its entirety to fully understand the spirit of this provision.

6) Faculty must disclose to the Office of the VPRD whether they (or members of their immediate family) have consulting or employment relationships with, and/or significant financial interests (defined below), in an outside entity before the University may approve the following proposed arrangements involving them between such entities and Koç University: a) gifts; b) sponsored projects; c) technology licensing arrangements; and d) certain procurements. In such cases, approval by the VPRD is required prior to entering into each proposed arrangement.

When the faculty member is engaged in research involving human subjects and has any financial interest in the sponsoring entity (or when a member of the immediate family has such interest), that interest must be disclosed on an ad-hoc basis to the Committee on Human Research (CHR), regardless of its value. When such proposed arrangements are disclosed, the CHR shall determine an appropriate resolution for the case in hand.

Significant Financial Interests in an entity means:

a) Any current or pending ownership interests (including shares, partnership stake, or derivative interests such as stock options) in a privately-held entity (e.g., in a “startup” company), or in a publicly-traded entity; or

b) Any income amounting to at least 10,000 TL per year (other than from employment, consulting, or ownership interests as covered above) —
including for example honoraria, licensing or royalty income.

Research funding from a startup and testing of faculty-generated intellectual property licensed to a startup: There is a strong presumption against accepting research funding in the form of grants, subcontracts, or gifts, from a startup or other company in which the faculty member proposing the research has an equity interest or a Board seat (or other significant financial interest), if the research is to be done in the research group of the faculty member, or if the students or postdoctoral fellows or associates of the faculty member would participate in the funded research projects. Rigorous restrictions also apply to human subjects research and non-human subjects research that involves testing, when the faculty member has a related financial interest.

The presumption is applied as follows:

  • Human subjects research. The regulations protecting human research subjects are based on the ethical principles described in the Belmont report (National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, Department of Health, Education and Welfare (DHEW) (30 September 1978)): respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. The Belmont principles should not be compromised by financial relationships. Where the proposed research involves human subjects, the presumption against permitting a related startup to sponsor the research is particularly strong. Any equity interest in the outside company (including stock options, warrants and instruments convertible into equity), or a nonequity financial interest of over 10,000 TL in a year (whether derived from consulting fees, honoraria, royalties, or in some other vehicle), would almost always preclude the financially interested faculty member from conducting human subjects research sponsored by the startup. This presumption may be overcome only in rare and compelling circumstances, as judged by the CHR, and where the Committee is satisfied that effective controls to mitigate any possible effects of the conflict can and will be implemented. Such circumstances might include, for example, that the researcher is uniquely qualified to perform the experimental procedure. In such circumstances, the CHR may advise the Office of the VPRD as to whether the researcher should divest himself or herself of the equity interest or place the equity in a blind trust for an appropriate period of time. The presumption is less likely to be rebutted when the object of the conflicted research is testing of a device or compound for public validation or other similar purpose.
  • Research not involving human subjects. When a startup or an outside company proposes to sponsor research to be conducted by a faculty member who holds equity or a Board seat in the company, and which involves neither human subjects nor validation testing, the presumption may be rebutted if, in the judgment of the CHR, appropriate controls are in place (see item c below), and one of the following sets of conditions is met:
    • The research is of a fundamental or basic nature; the research is not directly related to the financial success of the startup or company; and the relationship of the faculty member with the company is otherwise limited (i.e., does not involve multiple additional entanglements such as consulting agreements and scientific advisory board membership); so that the likelihood of any distortion of the research endeavor is minimal; or, the equity interests of the faculty member in a venture are so diluted that his/her control or influence over the decisions of the firm and the possible benefit from KU-based activity are negligible, and the relationship of the faculty member with the company is otherwise limited; or
    • The research is essential to maintain the continuity of a research effort related to the licensed intellectual property during a short interval of time (normally under six months), while the research activity is being established in the startup or outside company; and during this period oversight is exercised by non-interested peers appointed by the CHR.
  • Except in extraordinary circumstances, the presumption may not be rebutted when the research in question has as its object the testing of an invention in which the faculty member has a royalty or other interest in a startup or a company, or a Koç University invention that is licensed to a startup or a company in which he or she has an equity interest. For purposes of this provision, ‘testing’ is intended to describe the conduct of research designed to validate to the public or perform a similar function regarding an invention created at Koç University and licensed to a startup or other company. (The same restrictions would generally apply to testing undertaken for a publicly held company holding a license from Koç University.)

c) Controls. In each case in which the CHR recommends that research be permitted to proceed despite the presumption against such research, it shall ensure, in addition to measures adopted by the Committee, and complete compliance with the other strictures of this policy on startups, the following:
The research agreement contains no restrictions on publication other than those stated in the KU Policies on Intellectual Property Rights and Technology Transfer document.

  • All individuals working on the research project are provided a written notice that the research is being sponsored by a venture in which the faculty member has an ownership interest or fiduciary relationship;
    Before the Committee makes a recommendation that the research is allowed to proceed, the faculty member provides the Committee a written description of the proposed research and an assurance of his or her compliance with the restrictions set forth above; and thereafter, provides the Committee written reports on the progress of the research, listing related peer-reviewed publications and grants, no less frequently than annually; and
  • All other management measures deemed appropriate by the Committee are in place. Examples of such measures are requirement of a data safety monitoring board, in the case of human subjects research; an oversight committee to review data, publications and other issues; requirement of disclosure in publications; and commitment of equity to a blind trust for a period of time.

Common sense must prevail in the interpretation of these provisions. That is — no matter what TL amounts are involved — if an independent observer might reasonably question whether the professional actions or decisions of an individual are or may be determined by considerations of personal gain, the relationship should be disclosed and approval must be sought for the proposed transaction.

7) In situations in which the objectivity of a faculty member could reasonably be questioned, the Dean of his/her College/School may advise the CHR to review the appropriateness of the proposed research to be conducted at Koç University, to oversee the conduct of the research (including use of students and postdoctoral scholars), and to ensure open and timely dissemination of the research results.

Questions of Scientific Objectivity: Clinical trials and other research involving human subjects raise particularly sensitive issues in those cases where the investigator has any personal financial interests — no matter what TL amounts are involved — in the outcomes and these financial interests must therefore be disclosed to the CHR. The demand for therapeutics requires that new agents be developed and tested. The processes that must be followed in the testing and development of therapeutics raise an inherently contradictory situation for faculty, since frequently the inventors of therapies or medical devices are those who do research on the disease in question, are the leaders in the field, and are the most qualified to carry out pre-clinical and clinical testing. Also, the most qualified laboratories and individuals to conduct trials may receive, or be candidates to receive, research support from the external organization. In neither case could the faculty member be free of bias with respect to the outcome of the trials.

Therefore, the faculty member (and the CHR to whom the disclosure is made) must take appropriate steps to guarantee objective evaluation of the agent or device, especially for advanced clinical trials (FDA phase II and phase III). Testing might involve other members of the school or division, but if the faculty member is a senior academic, the referral for testing the therapy/device to another faculty member (particularly to a junior faculty member) may carry implied coercion. Integrity should be protected by an independent oversight group recommended by the CHR for evaluation and monitoring of the research whenever:

a) A faculty member is involved in clinical trials of his or her inventions;

b) A company licensed to use an invention of the faculty member sponsors the trial;

c) There may exist a reason to question a faculty member’s objectivity;

d) The outcome of the trial could be seen as influencing existing or potential research support;

e) Such testing is referred to other members of the faculty member’s program or division.

Under appropriate circumstances, the University may require that the investigator either divest any financial interest or not perform the work at Koç University.

8) On an annual basis all faculty members must certify to their Deans their compliance with Koç University policies related to conflict of interest and commitment. They must also disclose information about their (and their immediate family members, as described below) financial relationships with outside organizations that are sponsors of their teaching or research programs or are otherwise involved in current, proposed or pending financial relationships with the University that involve the faculty member. In addition, faculty must disclose to their Dean on an ad-hoc basis current, proposed or pending situations that may raise questions of conflict of commitment or interest, as soon as such situations become known to the faculty member. An electronic “disclosure and certification form” is available online and should be used for submission. Individual Colleges/Schools of the University may request additional information, but not less than that requested on the University electronic form.

9) Upon timely review of the disclosures, annual or ad-hoc, of potential or apparent conflicts, College/School Deans are expected to advise the faculty on the University policies, and immediately file the cases with the VPRD office with his/her own recommendations.

The Deans of Colleges and Schools and Directors of the Institutes are expected to file their own annual disclosures and certifications of compliance with the VPRD office.

10) Review of disclosures forwarded to the VPRD Office may be conducted by the VPRD or delegated to the CHR or to an ad-hoc Committee on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment depending on the nature of the conflicts, whose details are given in Section IV.3.1.

11) Should a faculty member wish to appeal a decision made by the CHR,  he/she may present the appeal to the VPRD; to appeal a decision made by the VPRD, he/ she may present the appeal to the President, who will consider the case in consultation with an Advisory Board appointed by the President.