I have been a newly appointed lecturer (18 months). Within my first 6 months I have advertised a PhD subject in order to recruit a good student. The specific project was advertised a year ago. I completed the recruitment of a very promising PhD student that started about two months ago.
In the meantime one of my colleagues that belongs to the same research group, has an already established collaboration with a company. After a brief discussion, my colleague informed me that the company is open to new ideas and that we could collaborate on a similar idea, which was not specified at that point. After a month, my colleague sent an email saying that they are going to submit a project for funding but again, no specifics were given.
I have asked to check the application (as I was included, but my colleague was the lead) and see the objectives/deliverables/commitments etc. I highlighted the fact that we will need to avoid any potential conflict of interest, but received no reply. After checking with my organization's research team I found that the project idea was based on the subject of my PhD student. However, I do not have a copy of the application to understand the extent of overlap, just the summary of it. The whole process was dodgy and I have lost trust in my colleague.
I found out later that my colleague is known for such tactics but at the same time has the support of a senior member of the group that has the power to block me from pursuing my research plans. I am not sure how to manage the situation and would appreciate any advice on the matter or if you could share similar experiences and how you handled them.