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External Professional Agreements

By accepting a position at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), faculty members make a major professional commitment to the institution, its students, and the state of Maryland. Faculty members are encouraged to focus their time and effort on their research, teaching, and clinical activities in the UMSOM. Nevertheless, there may be times when an outside professional commitment may enhance the reputation of the institution or individual, assist in recruiting students and other trainees, provide major economic benefit to the State of Maryland, or be the best mechanism for advancing a project or testing an idea. Under these circumstances, it may be possible for a faculty member to enter into an external professional agreement, such as consulting, outside of the scope of their employment with the university.

University System of Maryland (USM), University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB), and the UMSOM Policy Concerning Professionalism, Consulting, and Industry Interactions all require prior approval before a faculty member can agree to an external professional agreement, regardless of whether compensation is involved. Approval will only be given when the activity will:

  1. Provide a clear benefit to the institution or enhance the academic reputation of the faculty member
  2. Is academic in nature
  3. Will not cause a conflict of commitment
  4. Is acceptable within the Dean's consulting guidelines laid out in the UMSOM policy on Professionalism, Consulting, and Industry Interactions

Procedure for Review of External Professional Commitments

Initial Review by Chair, Division Chief, or Institute/Center Director

If you wish to be involved in any external agreements or relationships, your first step for approval must come from your Division Chief, Chair, or Institute/Center Director.

Review by Dean's Office

If your Chair, Division Chief, or Institute/Center Director approves, you or they should send a copy of the proposed consulting agreement to Joni Prasad or Terry Rogers for review. Please include a copy of the contract, scope of work, any additional information on proposed compensation and proposed time commitment, whether you are involved with any sponsored research from the company.

The Dean's Office will consider:

  • Whether the proposed agreement complies with all SOM, UMB, and USM policies, including policies on intellectual property ownership
  • Whether the proposed scope of work is within the Dean's consulting guidelines. Amongst other things, SOM faculty cannot
    • engage in any sort of marketing or promotional activities on behalf of a company
    • be part of a speaker's bureau
    • present for a company when the faculty member does not have sole control of his/her slides and talk
  • Whether the proposed agreement will present a conflict of commitment for the faculty member. The Dean's Office's general guidelines are that a faculty member's total external commitment cannot exceed 1 day/month.
  • Whether the proposed compensation is fair market value. The Dean's Office's general guidelines are that a faculty member's total compensation for all external commitments should not exceed 10% of their total approved salary.
  • Whether the proposed agreement presents a potential conflict of interest, particularly if the faculty member also has sponsored research with this company

For agreements that pose a COI or State Ethics Law concern, an additional review may be required by the UMB COI Office and/or UMB President's Office and/or review by the UMB Office of Technology Transfer when there are concerns about the intellectual property terminology in the contract.

The review process takes time. Please plan ahead.

If approved, all external professional commitments should be entered into  within 30 days and should be included in the annual disclosure. Approval is made for the term of the agreement if specified, or one year.


Start-Up Companies

If you are interested in starting a company to develop your discovery or invention, you must receive prior approval to avoid conflicts with MD State Ethics law, and USM, UMB, and SOM policy.

  1. Disclose your intellectual property to the UMB Office of Technology Transfer. They will guide you on the appropriate next steps.
  2. Follow the same approval steps outlined above for any external professional agreement. You should go through this review prior to starting your company.