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Advisory Committee on Ethics, Conflicts, and Security (ACECS)

WHOI’s Advisory Committee on Ethics, Conflicts, and Security (ACECS) promotes the principles of ethical research, the protection of national security interests, and their impact on WHOI’s mission and successful operation. As such, ACECS provides guidance to scientific and technical staff in the assessment and oversight of research ethics, conflicts of interest or commitment, intellectual property, and security in research and development projects at WHOI.

ACECS will review financial disclosures brought to their attention by Designees to determine whether a conflict of interest or commitment exits and determine what conditions or restrictions, if any, should be imposed to manage, reduce or eliminate conflict.

Full disclosure of any and all material facts is fundamental and crucial for thorough and accurate COI review. If in doubt regarding whether a fact is relevant, informative, or material, disclose it. Failure to reveal materials facts, or omission of any material facts may be considered a violation of the WHOI COI policy and possible lead to employment consequences (including written warnings and/or employment termination).

Activities for ACECS Review

Supervisors or Departments can bring any activities or COI and COC concerns to ACECS for review. Any referral for COI or COC review and all significant COI and COC are reviewed and analyzed by ACECS for the DOR.

Examples of activities to review are:

  • All projects involving Industry-Sponsored Research or with a Financially-Interested Company.
  • Outside consulting with a Financially-Interested Company.
  • Use of Institution facilities or equipment.
  • Participation by an Individual in commercial activities or industry.
  • Commitments of a professional or business nature of more than eighty hours per year, conducted during normal working hours, or that otherwise detracts from normal employment expectations or normal work hours.
  • Acceptance of compensation or perquisites if the amount received appears inconsistent with values of the service provided.
  • Service that involves remuneration, other than travel and incidental expense and Standard Honorarium, from any organization or individual  or individual from which the Institution currently receives or has received grants or other support, or with which the Institution has signed agreements or understandings.
  • Service that benefits, directly or indirectly, an organization or Individual to which the Individual or a  close relative is indebted or obligated, or in which the Individual or a close relative is a partner, director, officer, employee, or share owner, or has other beneficial or creditor interest.
  • Projects with foreign governments or foreign nationals that involves National Security issues.
  • Work with industry partners that might lead to the creation of or exposure to WHOI Intellectual Property.

ACECS review of corporate sponsorship, donations and naming requests

Corporate sponsorship is a payment by a business to further WHOI’s mission.  ACECS will review all offers of or requests for corporate sponsorships of events, research, giveaways and other activities. ACECS will review any acknowledgement by WHOI of corporate sponsorship such as, the placement of corporate names and logos on WHOI websites, facilities, ships, publications, or other WHOI related items, and whether the acknowledgement is temporary or permanent. The goal of the review is to make sure that the sponsorship is aligned with WHOI’s mission and values, while also maintaining the integrity and independence of its science and our researchers. ACECS does not need to review the use of a corporate names in a factual news story or WHOI publications.

Committee Members

Christy TalleyGeneral Counsel
Rick MurrayAdministration
Camrin BraunBiology
Michael BrosnahanBiology
Derek BuffittApplied Ocean Physics & Engineering
Amy BuiceOffice of General Counsel
Christine S. CharetteAcademics Program Office
Paul GallagherShip Operations
Paul MastrodonatoDevelopment
Mike PinnettiFinance & Accounting
Tennielle HawkinsInstitutional Compliance Officer