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Postdocs who wish to consult with entities outside of Stanford may do so on an incidental basis that is in concordance with the University’s policies on conflict of interest and commitment, the obligations by the scholar from his/her funding agencies and at Stanford.

Consulting requires the permission of the postdoc's faculty sponsor. Stanford considers consulting to be outside the scope of the postdoc appointment at the University, carried out outside the facilities of the university. There are two potential considerations:

  1. The amount of time that it takes to consult should not interfere with the postdoctoral appointment expectations at the University, and;
  2. If the postdoc’s work at Stanford would be of interest to the entity for which the postdoc is consulting, or if there is any financial relationship that might intersect with the postdoc research (e.g., the entity for which the postdoc is consulting provides financial support for the research the postdoc is doing at Stanford, or there is a technology licensing agreement between Stanford and this entity involving the postdoc’s research), then a potential conflict of interest would have to be disclosed.

Postdocs should let their faculty mentor know what consulting plans are being arranged, and discuss any concerns related to either of the above factors. Since consulting is defined to be outside of a standard postdoctoral appointment, Stanford has no policy limiting consulting compensation, nor does Stanford share in that compensation. For US citizens and permanent residents, outside consulting activity does not require Stanford approval, as long as the above guidelines are followed.

Foreign scholars on J1 or H1B visas must obtain additional prior approval by Stanford due to the regulations governing off-campus activity for foreign students and scholars.  Guidelines are available on the Bechtel International Center’s website.

An overview, policies, disclosure and review procedures, and contact information is available on the University’s Managing Conflicts of Interests website at