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Professional Commitment

The primary duty of full-time faculty members is to the University.  Faculty members engage with industry, government, and professional associations to further their knowledge, research, and other professional activity.  At the same time, faculty must not let outside commitments interfere with their obligations to fulfill their University and School of Medicine responsibilities.  Faculty members are expected to act in the best interests of the University and in furtherance of the University’s mission at all times.

An outside arrangement must involve a time commitment that is reasonable in relation to one’s faculty duties and outside engagements may not involve services or conditions that conflict with institutional policies and standards.  Outside commitments are reviewed for compliance with institutional policies and standards by considering factors such as:

  • Time commitment
  • Conflict of commitment with Johns Hopkins duties
  • Use of the Johns Hopkins name
  • Use of Johns Hopkins facilities and resources
  • Academic freedom
  • Regulated activity, such as provision of clinical care outside the institution

Determining whether a particular outside arrangement constitutes an acceptable or unacceptable commitment is a joint responsibility of the faculty member’s department director (or, in some cases, the division director) and the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC).  To help directors evaluate the potential for conflict of commitment, OPC provides department directors specific information about faculty.

All outside activities must be disclosed in the University’s online disclosure system, JHU eDisclose.  Specific disclosure requirements are outlined here.

Questions should be addressed to the Office of Policy Coordination or your Department Director.

Outside Commitments and Private Agreements

All commitments to provide consulting or other services to outside entities  must be  governed by a written agreement that is established in advance, includes a detailed outline of the services to be provided, and specifies the associated compensation.  JHU and JHHS are not parties to private agreements and therefore do not sign agreements between faculty or staff members and outside entities or organizations.  You may wish to consult your own legal advisor before signing a private agreement or contract with an outside organization.

The text of a private agreement and your services under a private agreement must comply with JHU School of Medicine policies.

  • When negotiating a private agreement, please be aware that you should not disclose or be asked to disclose any confidential information that is proprietary to JHU.
  • The company or organization may not claim rights to intellectual property or inventions created by you as a result of your research at JHU or made using JHU funds, resources, or facilities. 
  • You may not use JHU or JHHS facilities, resources or funds in your outside activity.  You may not engage JHU or JHHS employees, including students, trainees, and post-doctoral fellows, to provide services as part of your private agreement.
  • Private agreements may not place any limitations or constraints on your ability to conduct or disseminate your JHU research.  Private agreements may not interfere with academic freedom.  The agreement may not be conditioned on any business or other relationship between the outside entity and JHU or JHHS.
  • You may not engage in clinical practice or the clinical care of patients under a private agreement.
  • In general, full-time faculty may not conduct research for an outside organization under a private agreement.
  • Refer to the JHU School of Medicine Uniform Provisions for acceptable contract language.