Academics lose battle against BP

May 4, 2007

A group of US professors has lost a David and Goliath-style battle against petrochemical giant BP over academic freedom.

The senate of the University of California, Berkeley voted out a motion supported by 17 professors that would have given academics a greater say in the running of a $500 million (£250 million) research institute funded by BP.

Opponents of the deal fear that the oil giant will get control of some of the research findings of the new Energy Biosciences Institute. The institute will research clean, sustainable energy sources and the reduction of greenhouse gases.

BP plans to assign up to 50 scientists to the institute; they will work with staff and students at Berkeley and also with academics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The State of California will contribute $40 million to the institute.

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