Real conflict of interest
Real conflict of interest means a reviewer or a close relative or professional associate of the reviewer has a financial or other interest in an application or proposal that is known to the reviewer and is likely to bias the reviewer's evaluation of that application or proposal as determined by the government official managing the review (the Scientific Review Administrator, or equivalent), as acknowledged by the reviewer, or as prescribed by this part. A reviewer shall have a real conflict of interest if he/she or a close relative or professional associate of the reviewer:
(1) Has received or could receive a direct financial benefit of any amount deriving from an application or proposal under review;
(2) Apart from any direct financial benefit deriving from an application or proposal under review, has received or could receive a financial benefit from the applicant institution, offeror or principal investigator that in the aggregate exceeds $10,000 per year; this amount includes honoraria, fees, stock or other financial benefit, and additionally includes the current value of the reviewer's already existing stock holdings. The Director, NIH, may amend the dollar threshold periodically, as appropriate, after public notice and comment; or
(3) Has any other interest in the application or proposal that is likely to bias the reviewer's evaluation of that application or proposal. Regardless of the level of financial involvement or other interest, if the reviewer feels unable to provide objective advice, he/she must recuse him/herself from the review of the application or proposal at issue. The peer review system relies on the professionalism of each reviewer to identify to the designated government official any real or apparent conflicts of interest that are likely to bias the reviewer's evaluation of an application or proposal.