The Medical Research Council was criticised this week for accepting money from the tobacco giant British American Tobacco.
BAT has given Pounds 147,000 to the MRC to research whether nicotine is associated with an increase or decrease in the development of certain kinds of age-related brain damage - particularly from diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and from strokes.
It has provided money in the past for two studentships for research on DNA damage by groups of atoms called oxygen radicals at the council's toxicology unit in Leicester. This funding has now ceased.
The acceptance of such funding has exposed the MRC to criticism and has generated considerable disquiet within the council itself.
Defending the acceptance of BAT cash for the three-year, Pounds 600,000 nicotine research project, the MRC said it has absolute control over the research and publication of results. "The formal agreement stipulates that BAT may not make any reference to the findings of this research without the written consent of the MRC. It is most unlikely that the MRC would consent to any such request."