UC Regents Policy on Tobacco Funding

Update: Science and The Chronicle of Higher Education (which includes a thread of comments) note that Philip Morris ended its PM External Research Program. However, this is not the end of PM funding at Universities.

The University of California Regents adopted a new policy that establishes special review and approval procedures for research proposals involving funds from tobacco companies or affiliated agencies (ie, a front organization such as the now defunct Tobacco Institute). Specific components of this policy, derived from a thoughtful examination of the issues involved, include:

  • Establishing scientific peer review by committee and approval from UC chancellors for any research proposals seeking funds from tobacco-affiliated companies. The scientific review committee will be drawn from a community of scholars, which will work with campus chancellors in helping to determine whether to approve a proposal. [one hopes the vice chancellors for research will also ensure adherence to the 30-day sponsor review of manuscripts, presentations, etc. and maintain full control over IP in the award contracts themselves] Additionally, regents will be provided with timely notice of the relevant grants and a description of the research to be undertaken.
  • Requiring an annual report to regents on proposals and research involving or seeking funds from tobacco-affiliated companies. The report will summarize the number of proposals submitted to the scientific review committee, the number approved and the number funded, along with a description or abstract of each proposal.
  • Developing a regental statement to UC researchers that among other things, upholds academic freedom, expresses concern about the tobacco industry and asks researchers to exercise professional and ethical care.

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