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Ethical guidelines:

Financial conflicts of interests in research projects

Published Updated


The Norwegian Institute of Public Health's guidelines for preventing and handling financial conflicts of interest in research projects.


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1. Rationale

This policy shall promote objectivity and ensure a high ethical standard for the research at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), and contribute to maintaining and further increasing the public’s trust in NIPH-research.

2. Subjects

(a) The policy applies to all employees at NIPH, and anyone otherwise managing or performing matters on behalf of the institute.

(b) Specific expectations are pointed towards the top management at NIPH, its governing bodies, and the Principal Investigators in research projects where NIPH are responsible institution.

(c) The policy also applies to all subcontractors assisting NIPH in research projects, and shall be enclosed as an attachment to such agreements.

3. General principles

(a) Persons acting for or on behalf of NIPH shall in any situation seek to prevent or avoid potential and/or actual financial conflicts of interest.

(b) The NIPH top management, members of governing bodies, and Project Investigators in research projects where NIPH is responsible institution, shall submit information about their significant financial interests if these have or potentially could have influence on a specific research project or the institute’s research activity as such.

(c) The NIPH top management, members of governing bodies, and Project Investigators in research projects where NIPH are the responsible institution, shall submit relevant information concerning their close relative’s significant financial interests if these have or potentially could have influence on a specific research project or the institute’s research as such.

(d) Significant financial interest shall mean any significant interest, including but not limited to, any financial interest exceeding NOK 5000.

(e) Any question or consideration of whether there is a financial conflict of interest shall be addressed prior to initialization of a research project. Where there is uncertainty as to whether a financial interest constitutes a conflict in the particular case, the matter shall be considered by the immediate supervisor. If the immediate supervisor is a Division Director, the matter shall also be considered by the Director General.

(f) The NIPH management shall consider whether the enclosed information constitutes a financial conflict of interest, in light of the person’s connection to the project in question. The consideration must be made under a strict norm. If a financial conflict of interest exists, the person shall be instructed to quit the financial activity constituting the conflict as soon as possible. If termination is impossible or unreasonably burdensome, the NIPH management must ensure that the person’s connection to the project in question or the NIPH research activity as such, is terminated.