, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 327-336

Conflicts of interest in Germany: A legal perspective

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In spite of recent efforts to promote cooperation between universities and industry, Germany still lacks a sufficient legal framework for regulating potential conflicts of interest resulting from university-industry cooperation. Prospective regulation of conflicts of interest has to take into account specific constraints imposed by the German constitution. It has to follow stringent procedural and material requirements and carefully weigh the individual researcher’s right to academic freedom against the public demand for objectivity in research. Because of this cautious consideration of the conflicting interests constitutionally mandated in Germany, a potential regulation legitimate in this country may serve as a model for other countries facing the need of the adoption of such a regulation.

The ideas presented in this paper are developed in detail in the author’s dissertation, Rechtsfragen der Kooperation zwischen Hochschulen und Wirtschaft — Ein Rechtsvergleich: Deutschland — USA, Verlag Vahlen, München, 2002.
An earlier version of this paper was presented at an International Conference on “Conflict of Interest and its Significance in Science and Medicine” held in Warsaw, Poland on 5–6 April, 2002.