Frequently Asked Questions
- Filing a REPA
- Accessing and Revising a REPA
- Who Reviews and approves my REPA
- General Question 1: Outside Professional Commitments
- General Question 2: Financial Interests
- General Question 3: Business Interests
- General Question 4: Clinical Health Care
- General Question 5: Public Health Service Researchers
- Financial Disclosure for University Officials (FDUO)
Filing a REPA
- When do I file my annual REPA?
You should file your annual REPA within one month of receipt of the email notice to file.
- For employees on the REPA compliance list at the start of the year, the Conflict of Interest Program sends an email with the link to the annual REPA on the last Friday in January.
- For employees who join the University after the year begins and are added to the REPA compliance list, beginning in April the Conflict of Interest Program will send an email with the link to the annual REPA.
- Do I only file a REPA once each year? If not, how will I know if I need to file an additional REPA during the year?
Most faculty and staff file only one REPA each year and that is because the information they report during the REPA season doesn't change during the balance of the year. However, if you have a "change in circumstance" in a financial interest (remuneration, equity, or royalties) or business interest that relates to your University expertise or responsibilities, or a change in your University responsibilities that relates to an existing business or financial interest, you will need to file a new REPA.
- How will I determine whether a "change in circumstance" has occurred?
If circumstances have changed such that you now have a business or significant financial interest that overlaps with your University responsibilities or expertise, a "change in circumstance" has occurred that should lead you to file a change in circumstances REPA.
The following are examples of situations that may require you to file a "Change in Circumstance" REPA:
- An increase in the value of an existing financial interest to a value that meets or exceeds the "significant financial interest" threshold;
- The acquisition of a new significant financial interest (e.g., through purchase, marriage, or inheritance);
- The assumption of an executive or fiduciary role with a business entity;
- A change in your University responsibilities that relate to an existing business or financial interest. For example, you have been a consultant for a company but were not conducting any research that related to the commercial interests of the company. Now you have been awarded a contract or grant that will evaluate the safety and efficacy of technology developed by that company.
- For PHS-funded researchers, the occurrence of travel sponsored or reimbursed by an entity unless the trip was paid for or reimbursed by a governmental agency, an Institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an Institution of higher education. Annual travel expenses paid by an entity that in the aggregate are $5,000 or less need not be reported.
If you need assistance in determining whether a new REPA is needed for your particular situation, contact the Conflict of Interest Program staff at REPAmail@umn.edu.
- How much time do I have to file a "change in circumstance" REPA?
You should file a new REPA reporting the new or changed information within 30 days of the "change in circumstance".
- Is the REPA the only form I need to fill out to meet my compliance requirements?
In addition to the REPA, if you spend more than one day per month (12 days annually for 12-month appointments; 9 days annually for 9-month appointments), you must also file a ROC - Request for Consultant or Outside Service Agreement to receive advance approval for outside commitments. The ROC can be found under “EGMS Forms” on the EGMS Home Page. Please refer to the FAQs below on General Question 1: Outside Professional Commitments for more information on outside consulting and other commitments.
Accessing and Revising a REPA
- How can I access my previously filed REPAs?
- On the EGMS Home Page click on “EGMS Forms.”
- Log in with your Internet ID and password.
- Click on "Status of Requests" on the Main Menu.
- This provides you with the Request Number, the Date, Type, and Status of the forms submitted by you.
- If you want to see the information on a particular form, click on the hyperlink under Summary.
- Can I modify a REPA?
- If the REPA is in “approved” status, you cannot revise your REPA. You should contact the COI Program to determine whether it is necessary for you to file a new REPA.
- If the REPA is in “review” status, you can request the individual with whom it is pending to return the REPA. You can make the necessary revisions and resubmit the corrected REPA.
Who reviews and approves my REPA?
- Who reviews and approves my REPA?
Each REPA filer has at least one reviewer, and can have up to three reviewers. Each filer has a “collegiate” level approver, and most filers also have a “departmental” approver. If you do not report a significant financial interest or business interest, or add a comment to your REPA, your REPA can be approved by the collegiate approver.
If you report a significant financial interest or a business interest, or add a comment to your REPA, the REPA must route to the Conflict of Interest (COI) Program for review. If you require conflict of interest review and a conflict management plan, your REPA will be approved by the COI Program after the conflict management plan is executed.
- How are departmental and collegiate approvers different?
Every college or unit has one designated collegiate approver that is hard-wired into the REPA system; you will not have to input any information for your collegiate approver. Your departmental approver is NOT the same person as your collegiate approver.
- I am the head of my department or unit and report to the collegiate approver. How can I complete my REPA?
You likely need to be “special mapped” in our system to have your REPA skip a departmental level review and route directly to your collegiate approver. To set up a special mapping, contact the COI Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-626-1462.
- Who is my departmental approver?
Your departmental approver is typically your Department or Unit Head/Chair/Director. If you do not know the identity of Department or Unit Head, please ask your COI Unit Contact: List of Collegiate and Unit Conflict of Interest Contacts.
- One or more departmental approvers show up on my REPA as my suggested approver. Which one should I select?
The REPA is designed to identify Departmental Approvers with a) REPA signature authority; and B) a department head or department director job code. In most cases, one approver fits this description, so you would click on their Internet ID to populate the approver box.
Occasionally, multiple people appear as potential approvers. Unless given different instructions by your department or unit, you would select the approver who is considered the Unit Head/Chair/Director of your entire department. If you serve in a center or institute within a larger department, you will typically select the Head/Chair/Director of that larger department.
- No departmental approvers appear on my REPA for my department or unit. What should I do?
The REPA is designed to suggest approvers based on job code within a department. However, this function does not work for every department, so you may not have any suggested approvers.
However, you may still manually type in your departmental approver's Internet ID in the "Approver's Internet ID" box. Your department approver’s Internet ID is their e-mail address without including “@umn.edu.” If you do not know your departmental approver's Internet ID, you may use the "Search Internet ID" function to find it. After you type in the departmental approver's Internet ID, click "Confirm Approver" and the approver's name and department will appear below.
- After I type in my departmental approver's Internet ID, I receive a message that says "No approver with an Internet ID of [Internet ID] can be found.” How do I proceed?
Make sure that you have entered the departmental approver's Internet ID correctly, in all lowercase with no spaces. Do not include "@umn.edu." If the system still won't accept the departmental approver, it is likely that the person is not set up as a departmental approver. Please contact your COI Unit Contact to confirm that you have the correct departmental approver. If you do have the correct departmental approver, please contact the COI Program at email@example.com or 612-626-1462 to set that person up as an approver.
- No collegiate approver appears, so I am not allowed to proceed. What should I do?
If no collegiate approver shows (the REPA will show “( )” in the collegiate approver box), contact the COI Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-626-1462.
General Question 1: Outside Professional Commitments
- What types of activities must I report on the REPA in response to General Question 1?
You need to report outside professional commitments that, in aggregate, exceed three days per calendar year. For example, if you spend two days on one professional commitment, and two days on a second professional commitment, you must report both commitments.
Please note that the reporting is required even if the activity takes place outside of your normal workday and/or outside of your term of appointment. For example, if you are a 9 month Faculty member who consults for a business entity or is engaged in any other type of outside professional commitment for more than three days during the summer, you must report this on the REPA.
See Administrative Policy: Outside Consulting and Other Commitments, for definitions and reporting requirements.
- Which outside professional commitments are exempt from reporting?
The following activities, when they are related to the normal course of work as a faculty member and P&A employee, do not count as outside professional commitments. The activities listed below do not need to be reported unless they are compensated by a business entity beyond expense reimbursement.
- Preparing scholarly or artistic works;
- Peer review of articles and grant proposals;
- Attendance and presentations at professional meetings (and other similar gatherings);
- Serving on advisory committees or evaluation panels for federal, state, or local governmental agencies in the United States, or non-profit higher education institutions in the United States;
- Giving occasional lectures and speeches, participation in colloquia, symposia, site visits, study sections, and similar gatherings sponsored by governmental agencies, non-profit higher education institutions or non-profit entities organized solely for educational, religious, philanthropic, or research purposes (with the exception of non-profit entities created by for-profit corporations); and
- Ad hoc refereeing of manuscripts.
Regardless of compensation, these activities must not interfere with the performance of regular employment duties or compete with coursework offered by the University or services offered by the employee's unit.
- What types of activities are considered University responsibilities that are exempt from reporting?
The following activities are considered University responsibilities and therefore also are excluded from the scope of this policy:
- Working on projects supported by grant or contract funds awarded to the University and accepted by the Board of Regents;
- Teaching extension courses offered by the University; and
- Participating in private practice plans that are governed by Board of Regents' policies on private practice plans.
Further information may be found in Administrative Policy: Outside Consulting and Other Commitments. The Administrative Policy includes a link to the related procedures.
- How do I report foreign activities and interests?
You must answer “yes” on the REPA to:
- General Question 1 to report outside commitments involving a foreign institution of higher education, foreign governments, or any domestic or foreign for-profit or nonprofit business entities.
- General Question 2 and/or 3 to report significant financial interests and/or business interests relating to your University responsibilities and expertise; and
- General Question 5 if you receive research funding from any of the Public Health Service (PHS) agencies, to report travel valued in excess of $5,000 annually for you, your spouse, or your dependent children that is paid for by a foreign institution of higher education, foreign government, or any domestic or foreign for-profit or nonprofit business entity.
- Does it make a difference if I am providing services to one business entity or multiple business entities?
No. The focus of General Question 1 is on the number of days you are away from your University responsibilities, not the number of business entities with which you may be involved. If, for example, you are providing consulting services for a total of 9 days per year, the impact on the University is the same, whether those 9 days are devoted to one business entity or to three.
- Do I count the time spent as a presenter for a company?
Yes, you need to report the time spent making presentations on behalf of a business entity. Consulting, for purposes of filing a REPA, is broader than the situations in which you have entered into a formal consulting agreement. Presenting or speaking for an entity that is not a public or nonprofit entity is consulting, just as is attending meetings in which your expertise and contributions are valued.
- When answering the question on outside commitments, how is a "day" computed?
The length of a day is considered the length of a covered individual's normal working day, up to ten hours. So if you have commitments during the year for a total of 40 hours, and your typical work day is 10 hours, this would equal 4 days. However if the business entity you are working with defines "day" differently than you do, you must use that entity's definition. For example, for purposes of consulting agreements, the Department of Veterans Affairs defines a "day" as 8 hours. If you provide 40 hours of consulting services to the Department of Veterans Affairs, this would equal 5 consulting days, even if your typical work day is 10 hours.
- Do I need to obtain approval of any kind to engage in outside activities, and, if so, how do I do that and who has approval authority?
You may need to get prior approval. Prior approval is required whenever faculty and staff with 12-month A appointments anticipate that their outside commitments will involve, on average, more than one day per month during the period of their appointment or 13 days. For those with 9 month B appointments, the threshold for obtaining prior approval is 10 days. If you anticipate exceeding these thresholds, you will need to complete a Request for Outside Consulting (ROC). Your unit head will determine whether or not to approve your ROC. University policy provides two levels of review if an individual challenges the initial determination.
- Is there a maximum number of days that I can engage in outside activities?
University faculty and P&A staff with appointments of 75% or more are eligible to devote a maximum of one day per seven day week to outside activities. For 12 month A appointments, the maximum is 48 days per year. For 9 month B appointments, the maximum is 39 days per year. These limits apply whether the outside activity an individual engages in is for one organization or several.
- Do I have to report my outside commitments if the time spent is on evenings and weekends?
Yes. Reporting of days is based on activities that occur during the appointment term. See Administrative Procedure: Outside Consulting and Other Commitments by Faculty and Academic Professional and Administrative (P&A) Staff.
General Question 2: Financial Interests
- What is a financial interest? How does it differ from a significant financial interest?
A "financial interest" is anything of monetary value. It includes stock holdings, stock options, and the receipt of or right to receive income such as a consulting fee, honoraria, salary, royalty, or other form of compensation from a business entity.
The term "significant financial interest" (SFI) means a threshold at which one could have a financial conflict of interest. For those engaged in clinical health care and for investigators on research projects funded by the Public Health Service (PHS), the SFI threshold is greater than $5,000. For all other individuals, the SFI threshold is greater than $10,000.
- Do I need to report all of my significant financial interests on a REPA in response to General Question 2?
You need to report only significant financial interests that are “related to” your University responsibilities and expertise. Typically, University faculty are asked to consult based on their expertise, so most consulting income would be reportable on a REPA. The ownership of stock could be reportable if, for example, you prescribe that company’s products for your patients, or if you serve some role in the purchasing process that could lead to the purchase of that company’s goods or services.
Please contact the COI Program if you have a question regarding the “relatedness” of a particular financial interest for REPA reporting purposes.
- Whose financial interests am I responsible for reporting?
You must report both your own and your family members’ financial interests related to your University responsibilities or expertise.
A family member includes your spouse or domestic partner, dependent children, and any other family member whom you reasonably know may benefit personally from actions taken by you on behalf of the University.
- Do I have to report consulting and/or speaking income as a “financial interest”?
If the amount you received in consulting or speaking income meets the significant financial interest threshold, you must answer “yes” to General Question 2 on the REPA. A “financial interest” is NOT limited to just equity under University policy, but applies anything of monetary value, including, but not limited to:
- An interest in a business consisting of any stock, stock option, or similar equity interest (excluding any interest arising solely because the investment is in a pension, mutual fund, or other institutional investment fund over which the employee does not exercise control); or
- The receipt of or the right or expectation to receive any income, such as a consulting fee, honoraria, salary, allowance, royalty, or any other form of compensation from a business entity.
- I spoke at a conference or attended an advisory board meeting that was funded by a business entity. However, the entity that actually paid me was a separate organization that sponsored the conference or advisory board meeting. How should I report this?
You should report the business entity that funded the conference. In assessing potential conflicts of interest, we review where the money ultimately came from.
It is imperative for University employees to be aware of which business entity is paying their speaking or consulting fees. Particularly for physicians, we have seen instances where a third-party entity organizes a meeting but the funding is provided by a device or pharmaceutical company. This is not a way to avoid receiving income from a pharmaceutical or device company and you are still considered to have a financial interest in the pharmaceutical or device company.
- I am an owner or a member of an LLC that I use to perform consulting work. Should I report this as a financial interest?
Your LLC is considered a “pass-through” entity so you should disregard it for REPA reporting purposes. If your LLC received a significant financial interest from a business entity, you would report that business entity as the source of income on your REPA rather than your LLC.
For example, if you consulted for 3M and earned more than $10,000, you would report 3M as the source of income on your REPA, not your LLC.
- Are there any types of financial interest that do not need to be reported?
Yes, Section D of Administrative Procedure: Reporting External Relationships and Business and Financial Interests, lists categories of compensation you do not need to report. They are:
- Salaries or other remuneration paid by the University to the covered individual.
- Income from a private practice plan or private professional practice plan pursuant to Board of Regents policy.
- Income from seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of high education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education.
- Income from service on advisory committees or review panels for a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education.
- Income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the covered individual does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles.
- I have owned stock in a company for many years before coming to the University. This company makes products that the University purchases, and I participate in making or recommending purchasing decisions for these products. Do I need to report my stock holdings in this company on my REPA?
Since you participate in purchasing decisions regarding products made by this company, your stock ownership relates to your University responsibilities. Therefore, if the value of your stock meets REPA reporting thresholds, you must report your stock holdings on your REPA.
General Question 3: Business Interests Relating to Your University Responsibilities and Expertise
- What is a business interest?
Having a "business interest" means holding an executive position (such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief technical officer, or chief medical officer) in, or membership on a board (such as board of directors, scientific advisory board, or other advisory board) of, a business entity. These business interests must be reported whether or not such activities are compensated.
- Do I need to report all business interests on a REPA in response to General Question 3?
You need to report only business interests that are “related to” your University responsibilities and expertise. Typically, University faculty are asked to serve on company boards or serve in executive positions based on their University expertise, so these positions would be reportable. If you serve on a board of a charitable organization that has no relatedness to your University responsibilities, you need not report this as a business interest on the REPA.
Please contact the COI Program if you have a question regarding the “relatedness” of a particular business interest for REPA reporting purposes.
- Whose business interests am I responsible for reporting on the REPA?
You must report both your own and your family members’ business interests related to your University responsibilities or expertise. A family member includes your spouse or domestic partner, dependent children, and any other family member whom you reasonably know may benefit personally from actions taken by you on behalf of the University.
- Can I have both a financial and business interest in the same company?
Yes. If you meet the definition for both financial and business interest in the same company, you would answer “yes” to both General Questions 2 and 3 on the REPA. Sub-questions will follow; you will only need to answer the sub-questions once.
- Does attending an advisory board meeting mean I have a business interest in a company?
A company may call a meeting an “advisory board meeting,” though you may not necessarily have a business interest under University policy. If your attendance at the meeting is a one-off or only once every several years, you would likely not have a “business interest” in the company. On the other hand, if you attend more than once per year or appear on a company’s official website as an Advisory Board member, you likely have a business interest in the company. Note that regardless of how the advisory board is characterized, you would answer “yes” to General Question 2 if you earned income that crosses your significant financial interest threshold.
General Question 4: Clinical Health Care
- What is the definition of clinical health care?
"Clinical Health Care" is defined as:
The provision of medical, nursing, or other health-related care to humans or animals for the treatment of disease or injury. In the context of animals, this definition includes those owned by the University and those brought to the University by their owners specifically for the purpose of health care.
If you are part of a faculty practice plan at the University, you are considered to provide clinical health care.
- Can I be considered a clinical health care provider if I am employed outside of the University's Academic Health Center?
Yes. Individuals involved in clinical health care include those who work in the following positions or units:
- Duluth Campus: Athletics as athletic trainers, Health Services, and Communication Sciences/Communication Disorders
- Morris Campus: Athletics as athletic trainers
- Crookston Campus: Athletics as athletic trainers and Health Services
- Twin Cities Campus Athletics as athletic trainers
- Boynton Health Services (optometrists, physicians, dentists, mental health professionals, clinical specialists, pharmacists, nurses, dental hygienists and assistants)
- College of Liberal Arts (Speech, Language, and Hearing Services; Music Therapy Program)
- College of Education and Human Development (School of Kinesiology; Family Social Science)
- After I answer “yes” to whether I am involved in clinical health care, the REPA asks if I authorize the sharing of information with UMP or Fairview? What does this mean?
University faculty members that complete a REPA while also holding a UMP and/or Fairview appointment are asked whether the REPA can be shared with UMP and/or Fairview. The reason for this is that UMP and Fairview defer to the University’s REPA. By selecting “yes” to the question, you will not have to file a separate disclosure for UMP and/or Fairview.
General Question 5: Public Health Service Researchers
- I conduct research sponsored (funded) by the Public Health Service (PHS). What is unique about the PHS regulations?
The regulations also require that preexisting financial conflicts of interest must be managed before expending funds, or disclosed within 30 days and managed within 60 days if the financial conflict of interest is obtained while the project is ongoing. If a financial conflict of interest is not timely disclosed or managed, the University must conduct a review of the covered individual's research to determine whether it has been biased as a result of the conflict.
PHS funded researchers must also report the following information on your REPA if a business entity sponsors or reimburses your travel: name of business entity, trip destination, purpose, and duration.
Finally, if the University receives an external request for financial conflict of interest information, it must disclose the following: the Investigator's name, title and role on the research, name of the business entity, nature of the significant financial interest, and the approximate dollar value of the significant financial interest.
- What sponsored or reimbursed travel must I report, and when must I report it?
Within 30 days of its occurrence, you must report sponsored or reimbursed travel taken by you, your spouse, or dependent children that is related to your institutional responsibilities, unless the travel is reimbursed or sponsored by a federal, state, or local government agency, an Institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a) [see next FAQ below], an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an Institution of higher education.
Annual travel expenses paid by an entity that in the aggregate are $5000 or less need not be reported.
- How is an Institution of higher education defined in 20 U.S.C. 1001(a)?
It is defined as an educational institution in any U.S. State that (1) admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate; (2) is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education; (3) provides an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor's degree or provides not less than a 2-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree; (4) is a public or other nonprofit institution; and (5) is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association, or if not so accredited, is an institution that has been granted pre-accreditation status by such an agency or association that has been recognized by the Secretary (of Education) for the granting of pre-accreditation status, and the Secretary has determined that there is satisfactory assurance that the institution will meet the accreditation standards of such an agency or association within a reasonable time.
- How do I report sponsored or reimbursed travel on the REPA?
When you answer "yes" to REPA General Question 5, you will be asked whether a business entity has reimbursed you for, or sponsored, any travel that you have taken. Answer "yes" to the sub question, and then report who traveled (you, your spouse, your dependent child), the purpose of the trip, the sponsor of the trip, the destination, and the duration.
Financial Disclosure for University Officials (FDUO)
- What is a FDUO and why am I being asked to submit a FDUO?
Certain University officials and other individuals designated by the President must disclose significant economic interests and how those interests may relate to their institutional responsibilities. This is accomplished by filing a FDUO in addition to the annual REPA. A full list of those that must file a FDUO can be found here. If you are required to file a FDUO, it will automatically appear after you submit your annual REPA.
- Do I have to report all significant financial interests, regardless of whether they relate to my institutional responsibilities?
Unlike the REPA (which requires reporting of significant financial interests that relate to their University responsibilities), FDUO filers must report all significant financial interests regardless of whether or not they relate to institutional responsibilities. This requirement matches the State of Minnesota’s required financial disclosure for government and elected officials.