standards of conduct

4.1.30 Standards of Conduct

NIH requires recipients to establish safeguards to prevent employees, consultants, members of governing bodies, and others who may be involved in grant-supported activities from using their positions for purposes that are, or give the appearance of being, motivated by a desire for private financial gain for themselves or others, such as those with whom they have family, business, or other ties. These safeguards must be reflected in written standards of conduct. Except as provided below, NIH does not require a recipient to establish separate standards of conduct if it maintains such standards for its non-grant-supported activities, as long as those standards are consistent with State and local laws and cover, at a minimum, expected conduct in regard to financial interests, gifts, gratuities and favors, nepotism, and such other areas as political participation and bribery. The standards also must do the following:

  • Address the conditions under which outside activities, relationships, or financial interests are proper or improper.
  • Provide for advance notification of outside activities, relationships, or financial interests to a responsible organizational official.
  • Include a process for notification and review by the responsible official of potential or actual violations of the standards.
  • Specify the nature of penalties that the recipient may impose. These penalties would be in addition to any penalties that NIH or a cognizant Federal agency may impose for infractions that also violate the terms or conditions of award.

The recipient is not required to submit its general standards of conduct to NIH for review or approval. However, a copy must be made available to each of its officers, each employee and consultant working on the grant-supported project or activity, each member of the governing board, if applicable, and, upon request, to NIH. The recipient is responsible for enforcing its standards of conduct, taking appropriate action on individual infractions, and, in the case of financial conflict of interest, the recipient is required to notify the NIH of an identified financial conflict of interest (FCOI) by submitting the FCOI report to NIH via the eRA Commons FCOI Module (see 4.1.10, Financial Conflict of Interest). If a suspension or separation action is taken by a recipient against a PD/PI or other senior/key personnel under an NIH grant, the recipient must request prior approval Written approval by an authorized HHS official, e.g., a designated IC GMO, evidencing prior consent before a recipient undertakes certain activities or incurs specific costs (see Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget-Prior Approval Requirements). of the proposed replacement as specified in Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget-Prior Approval Requirements.

The recipient must promptly report issues involving potential criminal violations, such as misappropriation of Federal funds, to the HHS OIG .