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Outside Activity: Consulting

Consulting agreements (including Scientific Advisory Board member agreements and agreements for seminars, conferences, and talks) are private contracts between investigators and companies, but these agreements must be in accord with investigators’ obligations to Rockefeller.

As this is an individual matter concerning the investigator, Rockefeller does not provide legal advice on these kinds of arrangements, nor does Rockefeller review or negotiate consulting agreements. Investigators enter into these agreements outside of their employment function at Rockefeller. Rockefeller strongly recommends that investigators hire their own legal counsel to advise them of their rights and obligations under a proposed consulting agreement.

The Model Consulting Agreement (PDF) is provided so that investigators may inform themselves about what might appear in such agreements and specific Rockefeller policies that concern investigators’ obligations are referenced therein.

The following sentence should appear in all consulting agreements: “Consultant is employed by The Rockefeller University, and Consultant’s obligations to the University supersede any and all provisions of this agreement.”

The Rockefeller University Policy on Conflict of Interest and Commitment in Research does not permit doctoral students and postdoctoral appointees to engage in extramural activities for compensation. All other investigators may devote up to 52 days per year to external activities unless doing so would adversely affect their work at Rockefeller. Investigators are not permitted in the course of their consulting duties to assist a company in obtaining rights to any Rockefeller intellectual property. After entering into each consulting agreement, investigators must report Significant Financial Interests subject to that Policy. The reporting form is available at

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