Skip to main content

Management Plans

Management plans are implemented when there appears to be overlap between an individuals outside relationships and/or interests and their Northwestern responsibilities.

The purpose of a management plan is to enhance transparency and create separation between Northwestern work and the work an individual may be doing outside of the university in order to avoid even the appearance that decision making was biased or influenced by that outside interest.

Management plans strategies can vary depending on the circumstance. This page provides a response to some common questions we receive. If you have questions that are not answered here, please always feel free to reach out to us at or your supervisor or dean's office for guidance.


  • Examples of disclosure language - this page has sample language for disclosing a relationship to collaborators and in publications, presentations and/or press releases. Also available as a one-page word document of example language.
  • Sole-source justification - if required, a sole source justification allows documentation of why a purchase or other financial arrangement is uniquely suited to provide a product or services needed for Northwestern work.
  • Student-faculty agreement - if a student would like to participate in the outside activities of their advisor, this agreement should be filled out and sent to your dean's office for review and approval.


What are common management strategies?

General strategies for management include:

  • Recusal from decisions involving the outside company the person has a relationship with
  • Parameters around using Northwestern resources for activities with an outside entity
  • Restrictions on using direct reports or trainees in those outside activities without proper agreements and/or reporting line changes in place

For research projects, the most common management strategies are:

  • Disclosure to collaborators and team members,
  • Disclosure in publications, presentations, and press releases
  • Disclosure in informed consent documents (as applicable)
For more information about managing research projects that involve human participants, please see our guidelines for COI review and management for investigators involved in human research.

How do I disclose to collaborators and/or team members?

If disclosing a relationship to members of your lab, best practice would be to have an in-person meeting that allows members of the research team ask questions about the relationship and what impact it may have on work in the group, should they have any.

If an in person meeting is not practical, an email providing information about the relationship with a statement that if anyone has questions they can ask you, the Dean's Office, or NUCOI about the relationship. For a sample of text that could be used to communicate a relationship, see the section on example language for disclosing to research team members.

Disclosure to collaborators can be limited to those individuals that are working with you on the project under management.

Forwarding some documentation (e.g., a copy of the email, lab meeting agenda / minutes) to your Dean's Office to confirm that you have made this disclosure is requested.

The journal I am submitting to has changed the disclosure language. Is this ok?

We understand that journals have their own policies and procedures with respect to disclosing relationships.  As long as the disclosure conveys the spirit of the disclosure, the exact wording is less important.