Commercial influence on science
Commercial influence on science
"When we spliced the profit gene into academic culture, we created a new organism - the recombinant university. We reprogrammed the incentives that guide science. The rule in academe used to be 'publish or perish'. Now bioscientists have an alternative - 'patent and profit'." - Nobel Laureate, Paul Berg of Stanford University
"The universities are cheering us on, telling us to get closer to industry, encouraging us to consult with big business. The bottom line is to improve the corporate bottom line. It's the way we move up, get strokes.... We can't help but be influenced from time to time by our desire to see certain results happen in the lab. All of these companies have a piece of me. I'm getting checks waved at me from Monsanto and American Cyanamid and Dow, and it's hard to balance the public interest with the private interest. It's a very difficult juggling act, and sometimes I don't know how to juggle it at all." - John Benedict, Texas A&M University entomologist
"There is a great deal of potential research investment in the UK that could come from food technology industries, and any concerns about the safety of these foods could jeopardise this huge investment. So I can understand why scientists would be very anxious about jeopardising that investment." - Dr Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet
"These competing interests are very important. It has quite a profound influence on the conclusions and we deceive ourselves if we think science is wholly impartial." - Dr Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal,
"All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector." - Editorial, The Lancet
"A survey measuring attitudes toward biotechnology among Cornell University agricultural and nutrition-science faculty and extension staff (who advise farmers) found that nearly half have reservations about the health, safety, and environmental impacts of genetically engineered food crops and doubt they are the answer to global hunger. Though their numbers were fewer, the biotech promoters said they felt very comfortable publicly voicing their views, while the concerned majority did not express that sentiment." - Karen Charman, 'Spinning Science into Gold'
"Public health professionals need to be aware that the 'sound science' movement is not an indigenous effort from within the profession to improve the quality of scientific discourse, but reflects sophisticated public relations campaigns controlled by industry executives and lawyers whose aim is to manipulate the standards of scientific proof to serve the corporate interests of their clients." - Dr Stanton Glantz and Dr Elisa Ong, American Journal of Public Health
"One in three scientists working for Government quangos or newly privatised laboratories says he has been asked to adjust his conclusions to suit his sponsor”¦. [Charles Harvey, spokesman, The Institute of Professionals, Managers and Specialists, said,] 'The piper is calling the tune and it raises worrying issues. We have seen the BSE crisis, food scares and the GMO debacle and the public is losing confidence in Government as an independent, fair-minded arbiter.'" - Daily Telegraph, 'Scientists asked to fix results for backer'
"This is confirmation of all our worst fears that the Government's GM policy is being driven by bad or fraudulent science. They are reliant on the industry that wants to sell these seeds to monitor the trials. This is insane, and criminally irresponsible. If data from one company has been falsified how do we know others have not been up to the same." - Alan Simpson, UK Member of Parliament
"History has shown that meaningful assessment of cost as well as benefit issues is unlikely when technology assessment is provided by proponents who have a clear vested interest in the adoption of the technology." - Dr E. Ann Clark, associate professor, department of plant agriculture, University of Guelph, Canada
"There is too much hype. Every gene that is discovered will lead to a cure for cancer." - Dr Maxine Singer, the National Academy of Sciences
"GM is a totally oversold technique" - Prof Bob Watson, chief scientist at the UK Govenment's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and formerly an adviser to the White House, chief scientist at the World Bank, and the director of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
"I think there is a very real problem from the point of view of university research in the way that private companies have entered the university, both with direct companies in the universities and with contracts to university researchers. So that in fact the whole climate of what might be open and independent scientific research has disappeared, the old idea that universities were a place of independence has gone. Instead of which one’s got secrecy, one's got patents, one’s got contracts and one’s got shareholders." - Prof Steven Rose, professor and chairman of the department of biology, Open University
"The independent scientist who conducts research for the public good 'barely exists any more,' according to one leading expert on technology and public policy. 'They get up and talk as if they are neutral. But they almost always have some share in the company or some self-interested gain for their work,' said Philip Bereano, a professor from the University of Washington in Seattle." - National Post, "Courts last defence against scientific 'elite': professor"
"For any scientist who wants a good job and a nice home with mortgage payments, he's not going to choose the Union of Concerned Scientists." - Dr Hugh Gusterson, MIT