How Corporate Cash is Increasingly Influencing University Research
By Joaquin Palomino
April 22, 2013
In April of 2010, British Petroleum’s offshore drilling unit Deep Water Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven workers died, 210 million gallons of oil leaked into the ocean, and 665 miles of coastline were contaminated. It was the biggest accidental marine oil spill in US history.
Just one month after the ruptured well was sealed, UC Berkeley ecologist Terry Hazen made a groundbreaking discovery: He identified a new microorganism that was eating the spilled oil and breaking it down into CO2 and water. The microbe was so active that, according to Hazen and his team of scientists, the vast plumes of oil in the gulf had “went away fairly rapidly after the well was capped.” Hazen’s findings were published in the academic journal Science, and subsequently reported by most major media outlets. One fact, however, was often omitted: The research was funded by BP.
Such a pairing is possible because in 2007, UC Berkeley, the University of Illinois, and BP signed a ten-year, $500 million research agreement that funded work on biofuels and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). “When people read the Science report, they thought they were reading a Berkeley professor’s research,” said Ignacio Chapela, professor of microbial ecology at UC Berkeley. “They didn’t realize it was also BP saying, ‘You shouldn’t worry about the oil spill anymore.'”
Over the past fifteen years, UC Berkeley has experienced an explosion in privately funded research. In 2002, the engineering department’s CITRIS lab, which conducts energy, transportation, and medical research, received an initial investment of $75 million from dozens of industrial partners. The lab continues to secure roughly $50 million a year in both federal and private grants. In 2012, the Energy Biosciences building was constructed with more than $90 million from numerous private investors. And last spring, Texas Instruments gifted $2.2 million to UC Berkeley’s engineering department to upgrade classrooms and labs.
“While We Were Sleeping”
Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD
About News From Underground
News From Underground is a daily e-news service run by Mark Crispin Miller, a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.
If you'd like to receive updates delivered to your inbox daily, sign up for News From Underground Alerts:
Help News From Underground!
Message from Mark: "I am a one-man operation, although assisted greatly by some volunteers, and, now and then, by people paid by others for one-time projects. There is no shortage of skilled, dedicated folks out there who want to help me. There is, however, nothing I can pay them with, unless you decide you can contribute something."
Please donate via the PayPal button above or via PayPal by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- How NYU squeezes billions from its students—and where that money goes
- US cops snatch hundreds of millions—legally—from motorists who’ve done no wrong
- Koch fiends in Wisconsin Senate poised to scrap 48-hour wait before handgun purchase
- Comcast throws in the towel, won’t eat Time Warner after all
- “Why Obama Should Pardon Don Siegelman” (Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker!)
- Don’t buy these products from Koch Industries! on
- Wisconsin to buy “all new voting machines”—and Koch/Walker will go on “winning” there FOREVER! on
- Please SIGN Elizabeth Warren’s petition to halt “fast track” of TPP! on
- 2nd Amendment was devised to keep Americans in chains on
- Update on the strange death of Nancy Schaefer on
- NY Fed moving to Chicago, Feds stocking up on ammo, NORAD hunkering down: What's up?
- Don't buy these products from Koch Industries!
- Forbidden Bookshelf
- Where the money goes at NYU
- The strange death of Nancy Schaefer (two items)
- Media Channel
- Media Matters
- Words of Power
- The Rude Pudit
- Thom Hartmann
- Citizens for Legitimate Government
- The Ostroy Report
- Talking Points Memo
- Early America
- History Unfolding
- alias Bruce
- t r u t h o u t
- Veterans for Common Sense
- The Existentialist Cowboy
- Richard Charnin
- Suburban Guerrilla
Need a bigger font size?
- Your link could be here too, contact us for pricing details.