Rules regarding conflicts of interest
According to Sweden’s Administrative Procedure Act, a member of a decision-making body participating in a deliberation or presentation who can be assumed to lack objectivity in their position – who has a conflict of interest – is disqualified from enacting their role. The Administrative Procedure Act also states that "A person who is aware of a circumstance that can be assumed to disqualify them must immediately notify the authority of this." Members of an examination committee and faculty opponents must thus be completely independent of the doctoral student, supervisor and project.
The Faculty of Medicine applies the Swedish Research Council's (VR) rules on conflicts of interest:
- There is a conflict of interest when research collaboration and co-authorship has taken place during the last five years. A co-authored article is considered enough to constitute a conflict of interest.
- Conflict of interest may be considered to exist for longer than five years if the collaboration was close.
- A relationship between the doctoral student and supervisor is considered a conflict of interest regardless of how long ago the collaboration took place.
- Exceptions to the five-year rule can be made for collaborations in the form of multi-centre studies, which are judged on a case-by-case basis. In this case, the parties concerned must certify in writing that there is no conflict of interest.