Health-care centres, universities, and the researchers and clinicians working in them are encouraged to procure research funding through the development of commercial relationships. There are positive, practical, and morally relevant arguments in support of this initiative, but the move also raises ethical issues concerning potential conflicts of interest. These include conflicts between an institution's or researcher's responsibilities to each other, to research subjects, and to the public, and competing financial interests. This article examines developments in research funding and ethical difficulties that may arise in the present administrative context. It provides suggestions for the development of guidelines by institutions that are supportive of investigators in their endeavors to enhance clinical care through crucial external funding and the implementation of research.