Canadian academics 'compromised' by working with industry

Posted Nov 30, 2013 by Tim Sandle
A study by a Canadian organization has concluded that industry-academia relationships compromise university investigators' liberty.
Poster from a Canadian science campaign
Poster from a Canadian science campaign
With permission by Reuters / Chris Wattie
The report, titled "Open for Business: On What Terms", has been prepared by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). The group reviewed 12 pacts between companies, the government, and Canadian universities and found that the majority violate the schools' principles on academic integrity.
This led to the report concluding that collaborations between industry and universities “place unacceptable limits on academic freedom and sacrifice fundamental academic principles.”
As an example, the report mentions that in a $9 million agreement between the drug maker Pfizer, the University of British Columbia (UBC), and the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA), the company has power over research funds and planning.
Pfizer, in a statement sent to Pharmalot, responded that: “it is our experience that academic independence and private sector intellectual property protection are not mutually exclusive. Biopharmaceutical research is an expensive and long-term effort, and intellectual property protection is vital to ensuring the possibility of a return on investment when research is successful.”
However, according to ScienceInsider, of the seven research projects analyzed, just one provided peer review for project selection.