University employees who wish to start a business need to disclose the business early. Often this is when the business is registered with the state, or when the idea is being developed. Disclosure through eCompliance allows the COI Office to help the employee in navigating the rules and policies, ensuring the activity is appropriately managed for both potential conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment. An Oversight Management Plan will be implemented if needed.
Considerations for SBIR & STTR Funding
Many small businesses submit applications for SBIR/STTR funding, enabling them to perform research to develop early-stage innovative products to the point where they can attract outside capital. Some considerations are:
- Students, including graduate students may not serve as the PI either for the small business or the University. Postdocs/fellows may serve as PI, but management strategies may be required if the mentor has a conflict.
- A contract to the University covers the use of university resources. Any other work from the Prime award must be conducted outside of the university, unless an agreement is in place to cover those expenses.
- SBIRs require the Small Business Concern (SBC) PI be primarily employed (51% or more) by the small business, therefore if the PI is an MU employee, their MU FTE must be 49% or less.
- STTRs generally do not require the SBC PI be primarily employed by the SBC, therefore the PI may be employed fulltime at MU.
- No employee may work on both the Prime award and the contract to the University.
- A Project Management Plan is required for any contract to MU if any conflicted employee is involved.