miércoles, junio 08, 2005

An interview with author, Jennifer Washburn.
by Jennifer Borden, Special to CorpWatch
April 11th, 2005

In 1998, the University of California at Berkeley struck a deal with Novartis, a Swiss agricultural-biotechnology firm (now called Syngenta), in which Novartis funded one-third of the research budget of a department within the university’s College of Natural Resources. In exchange, Berkeley gave Novartis exclusive patenting rights to one-third of the discoveries generated from the department and allowed Novartis to occupy 40% of the committee that decides where that research money is allocated.

The agreement ended in 2003, but was highly contested by both students and faculty. Dr. Ignacio Chapela, an assistant professor of microbial biology and a prominent critic of genetic engineering who lost his tenure at around the same time, went on to become the center of a fiery international debate.

The Novartis/UC deal might be the best known example of the kinds of challenges that arise when corporate interest and universities mix. But, as Jennifer Washburn, author of University, Inc.: Corporate Corruption of Higher Education, explains below, it is not unique.

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