Washington, D.C. – The world’s largest oil companies have funded at least $800 million of potentially compromised energy research at American universities over the last decade, a new report from the Center for American Progress reveals, based on a detailed analysis of university-industry contracts. Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, and ExxonMobil—members of a group of major energy firms informally known as "Big Oil"—have underwritten research at top-tier universities with few contractual protections for objectivity or scholarly independence. In "Big Oil Goes to College," Independent researcher Jennifer Washburn lays out this disturbing trend and makes the case for strengthening federally funded research programs and improving scientific integrity standards for public-private research partnerships.
Washburn attributes the surge in industry-sponsored projects in part to the dramatic drop in federally funded energy research over the last thirty years. From 1993 to 2006, U.S. government spending on all energy-related R&D averaged $3.6 billion per year — 60 percent less than the $9 billion the U.S. government spent on energy R&D in 1979. In response, many U.S. universities have turned to Big Oil to bridge the funding gap.
Washburn relied on independent legal experts to evaluate ten large-scale, university research agreements funded by Big Oil. This review found that each lacked basic standards to protect academic independence and research objectivity. Contracts investigated are the foundation of research alliances at Arizona State University, UC Berkeley, Stanford, UC Davis, the Colorado School of Mines, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Rice University.
“Big Oil Goes to College” includes specific recommendations to keep American energy research objective and its green technologies competitive.
Kate Gordon, Vice President for Energy Policy, Center for American Progress
Jennifer Washburn, Independent Researcher and Expert on University-Industry Relationships
WHAT: Press Conference Call to release new report analyzing the relationship between major grants from Big Oil to U.S. universities
WHEN: Thursday, October 14, 2010, 1 P.M. EST
Call info: ( 877 ) 210 – 8943
Conference ID: 17067542
To listen to this press call, click here.
**Please note, this call will be recorded. By participating in the call, you consent to be recorded.**