To ensure fair and unbiased reviews of applications external reviewers are required, in accordance with their contract with Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), to disclose actual or potential Conflicts of Interest (COI) to OCE when they are invited to review an application.
OCE defines a COI in the OCE Reviewer Agreement using the definition:
“…a Conflict of Interest shall mean the existence of any circumstance where Reviewer has outside commitment, relationship or financial interest that could or could be seen to exercise or exert an improper influence over the objective, unbiased and impartial exercise of the Reviewer’s independent judgement of any Proposal submitted to Reviewer to review.”
Furthermore, there may be a real, perceived or potential COI when the "Reviewer":
- would receive professional or personal benefit resulting from the funding opportunity or application being reviewed;
- has a professional or personal relationship with an applicant or the applicant’s institution; or
- has a direct or indirect financial interest in a funding opportunity or application being reviewed.
A COI may be deemed to exist or perceived as such when the "Reviewer":
- Is a relative or close friend, or have a personal relationship with the applicants;
- Is in a position to gain or lose financially/materially from the funding of the application;
- Has had long-standing scientific or personal differences with the applicants;
- Is currently affiliated with the applicants’ institutions, organizations or companies—including research hospitals and research institutes;
- Is closely professionally affiliated with the applicants, as a result of having in the last six years:
- frequent and regular interactions with the applicants in the course of their duties at their department, institution, organization or company;
- been a supervisor or a trainee of the applicants;
- collaborated, published or shared funding with the applicants, or have plans to do so in the immediate future; or,
- been employed by the institution, when an institution is the applicant; and/or
- feel for any reason unable to provide an impartial review of the application.
If a COI is suspected, please contact OCE’s Review and Results team at firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification as soon as possible.
If OCE deems a COI exists, the application will be assigned to another reviewer.
Please note, OCE reserves the right to make the final decision regarding any potential COI.