smoke without fire? The ethics of tobacco funding
the clamour of protest over Nottingham University's decision
in December 2000 to accept a £3.8m grant from British
American Tobacco, the voice of the university's Vice-Chancellor,
Sir Colin Campbell, was rarely heard. Sir Colin is now
coming to the University to lecture on the rights and
wrongs of tobacco funding.
University's acceptance of BAT funds to set up an international
centre for corporate social responsibility sparked a wave
of resignations. Professor of medical journalism and editor
of the BMJ, Richard Smith, was the first, followed by
cancer specialist David Thurston, who took fifteen researchers
with him to the University of London. The Cancer Research
Campaign withdrew a £1.5m donation, and stated it would
be reviewing its annual grant to the university.
statements maintained the donation had been accepted under
national guidelines, and the money would be ringfenced
in accordance with the protocol agreed between the Cancer
Research Campaign and UniversitiesUK.
university spokesperson said: "The decision to accept
a donation from a tobacco company is entirely separate
from the university's medical research activities. The
new funding will give hundreds of students an opportunity
to experience high quality teaching and research in a
vital and fast growing area of global business life."
contrasts with the situation at the University of Leeds,
which has a long-standing policy of not accepting research
grants from tobacco companies.
year the University went one step further, deciding to
pull investments from the same companies. Vice-Chancellor
Professor Sir Alan Wilson said the decision was made "on
grounds of principle, and in recognition of the social
responsibility we have as a major university."
his lecture, Sir Colin will ask whether or not organisations
such as universities should accept donations for research
from tobacco companies, and look at wider issues, including
whether people should be allowed to smoke, whether companies
should be allowed to manufacture tobacco products and
the ethics of taxing such companies to fund health and
social service provision.
lecture takes place on February 19 at 6pm in the Clarendon
Wing lecture theatre on D floor of the LGI. For details,
contact Elyse Drake at email@example.com