Recently [October 12, 2007] The University of Saskatchewan accepted a $300,000 research grant from Talisman oil. This research money will be used to re-asses the literature linking global warming and climate change. One of the leading researchers, Dr. Bill Patterson will use the money to continue his studies of ancient climate patterns. Patterson sees this as important in determining the impact of future climate change patterns.
The Canadian government (in 2000) directly linked Talisman oil to supporting with oil revenues a corrupt Sudanese government that has repeated human rights violations. Including slavery and using the Talisman airstrip to launch attacks on civilian populations. No action was taken against Talisman.
While this research may be necessary and relevant in repairing the damage done by human caused climate change, this research is doing nothing to change the current social structures (profit-motivated corporations) that continue to cause these problems. It represents corporate interest regardless of public interest.
Our society has an unhealthy addiction to fossil fuels. Renewable and sustainable alternatives that are desperately needed are not being explored because the powerful oil corporate juggernaut has a frightening amount of influence over our government and institutions.
The University of Regina Computer Science department was recently given $150,000 in scholarships and grants by Shell in order to have access to "employment opportunities" of the top 3 (academically) in the department.
The University of Regina is also victim to this addiction to non-renewables. Through the petroleum engineering department, they continue to invest heavily in carbon-capturing technology, so that further proliferation of fossil fuels continues and the inevitable transition to renewable and sustainable sources of energy is postponed.
[in 1999] The UofR recieved $3.3 million in funding from the provincial and federal governments under the fossil fuels framework policy on addressing climate change.
Today, universities in Canada are seen as "service-providers" to private sector organizations. In BC, university executives at SFU, UBC, and UVic refused to disclose financial records after access-to-information requests in regards to shares SFU holds in various spin-off companies, despite the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association supporting the release of this information. This decision is relevant, because all public institutions must disclose all financial transactions under the freedom-of-information act. This action shows that how universities in Canada value corporate interest over public interest.
Oil companies represent one of the corporate juggernauts that is intensely powerful. In a global system where money is power, they have a lot of it. And they use their power to exploit and evade any attempts that would limit their profit(like labour and environmental laws). They get their massive amounts of money from recklessly exploiting governments, ecosystems, communities, and 'natural resources'. They will work together to overcome any barriers to profit. And they are accountable only to those elite who can afford to be major shareholders in their corporation.
The UofR mandate is to prepare students to excel in local and global communities. A new university watchdog group is forming on campus to keep the UofR administration accountable to the students and to the community. Interested individuals should check with the RPIRG for details.
***NOT ALL university research has been corrupted... especially when you compare the uofr to the uofs.... check out what OUR profs are up to with (non-corporate) grants!