Conflict of Interest Policy

Conflict of interest arises when our impartiality and objectivity in the performance of our functions for CERN or in the fulfilment of our contractual obligations towards the Organization could be influenced or compromised by our private interests or any other professional obligations or relationships. 

“Private interests” means any benefit, liability or relationship, financial or otherwise, of the CERN contributors, their family or friends, or any individual or organisation with which the CERN contributors are directly or indirectly connected.

To ensure that the best interests of CERN are served, and to avoid possible suspicions of bias and partiality in performing their professional duties, we are required to recognise situations that could give rise to a conflict of interest or the perception of same. Where it is impossible to avoid such a situation, for example due to the nature of their functions, or in case of doubt, we shall promptly disclose to the Organization that we have or may have a conflict of interest. 

In particular, we, as CERN contributors, are required:

  • not to accept gifts, favours or hospitality that could create or appear to create a situation of conflict of interest;

  • to provide immediate notification to CERN if, in the performance of our functions, we are called upon to advise on, to decide on or to control matters in which they we a private interest or competing professional obligation or relationship which could impair or appear to impair our impartiality and objectivity;

  • to discuss the matter with our relevant hierarchy at CERN[1] if they are unsure as to whether a conflict of interest might exist.

The Organization shall react promptly and appropriately to disclosures of conflicts of interest, to ensure, inter alia, that the impartiality and objectivity of the CERN contributor is not influenced or compromised, or perceived as such. It shall take the necessary measures to maintain the confidentiality of any private information disclosed.

Guidelines for the implementation of the Conflict of Interest Policy addresses in more detail the issues of gifts, favours and hospitality as well as the disclosure of conflict of interest.

Reference documents

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[1] Typically, this means either their direct supervisor, the person to whom they report; or, the CERN officer in charge of the specific process where the issue arises (e.g., project leader, chair of a board etc.)