Revised policy: OHSU Members’ roles in OHSU Startup Companies

OHSU is changing its policies for employees who are involved in startup companies to align more with national peers.

An OHSU Startup Company is defined as a company that meets one or more of the following criteria: a) has at least one OHSU employee as a founder, or b) is dependent on rights to OHSU’s technology for its formation, or c) has received investment from OHSU. Since July 2016, OHSU members have been permitted to have certain executive or officer roles in OHSU Startup Companies for up to two years or until a specified funding or investment threshold was reached. Extensions for continued participation in such roles required a formal extension request that was reviewed by the Conflict of Interest Executive Committee with input from the individual’s department chair, center director or supervisor.

The updated OHSU policy now allows the continued participation of any OHSU member in an OHSU Startup Company as long as the individual and Startup Company are meeting all of their expectations and obligations to OHSU and the individual’s time of commitment at OHSU is in line with their time of commitment for all outside activities. An annual review is required in conjunction with the individual’s annual Outside Activities disclosure and review. Other significant changes in the policy are highlighted in the below table, which compares the former policy clarification to the newly revised policy.

While OHSU encourages its employees to participate in industry partnerships, including the participation in Startup Companies, the involvement of employees in commercial or other external ventures carries with it the potential for diverting OHSU and its employees from their primary missions of education, research and clinical care. Conflicts of interest can arise when the interests of the commercial venture or outside entity differ from the interests and primary obligations of OHSU and its employees, or when the outside entity consumes an undue share of employee time.

Any questions in relation to this policy change may be directed to Kara Drolet, associate vice president of the OHSU Research Integrity Office and conflict of interest officer or Andrew Watson, senior director of Technology Transfer.

Summary of revisions

Summary of revisions to OHSU Management of Outside Activities policy covering OHSU personnel (including faculty, employees, trainees and students) with roles in Startup Companies.

Open or download .pdf of chart.

Chart: Summary of policy revisions