Saturday, 11 February 2012

The research juggernaut: anti-tobacco funding makes campus go non-smoking

The University of Texas at Austin is set to ban smoking throughout its 350-acre site. This is a new condition of the Cancer Prevention Institute of Texas, a significant research donor.

The ban on smoking is inconvenient (and it is hard to imagine it being effectively enforced in any event), but the message this curtailment sends out about the funders' research agenda is incontrovertible. A major funder can insist that all recipients force its students to forgo tobacco on campus – if you think this makes for an atmosphere that can foster an open scientific criticism of ideas (especially those critical of the anti-smoker agenda), I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

At least it's out in the open. The bias has always been there, but the research institutions are now powerful enough to flex their muscles and enforce behaviour change as a condition of receiving funding.


Anonymous said...

Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Receives $450 Million in Funding to Begin the Fight on Cancer
* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.
Tue Jun 2, 2009 3:25pm EDT

AUSTIN, Texas--(Business Wire)--
The 81st Texas Legislature adjourned yesterday after passing legislation that
included House Bill 1358, a bill that will dramatically improve operations of
the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (the Institute), created
in House Bill 14 by the 80th Legislature. The bill, a model for other states,
strengthens the conflict of interest guidelines, clarifies the peer review
process and gives the Institute the necessary tools to ensure that taxpayer
money is invested wisely. The Institute also received an appropriation of $450
million dollars for the next two years to fund grants for cancer research and
prevention to expedite innovation in cancer treatment and expand cancer
prevention and treatment capabilities.

"While we were hoping for the full funding of $600 million dollars, we thank the
Texas leadership for putting their faith in the Institute," said William "Bill"
Gimson, Executive Director of the Institute. "We promise the people of Texas
that we will be good stewards of the public`s trust by funding only the best
scientific research and prevention, measuring what we do, and reporting back
regularly on our progress."

The budgeted amount will give the Institute the flexibility of a 12-month
ramp-up period with the ability to fully fund the second year at $300 million
dollars. Much has happened with the Institute since Texas voters approved
Proposition 15, the constitutional amendment that allows the State of Texas to
issue $3 billion in general obligation bonds over ten years to fund grants for
cancer research and prevention. The Institute`s 11-member Oversight Committee
held its first meeting in June 2008, officially inaugurating the Institute. The
Oversight Committee conducted a national search for an executive director and
appointed Gimson, former chief operating officer of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, in March 2009. Alfred G. Gilman, M.D., Ph.D., renowned
scientist and Nobel Laureate, was named chief scientific officer of the
Institute and will assume his duties June 10, 2009. Other key members of the
Institute`s leadership team are being put in place. Policies and processes are
being developed to receive and review project proposals, make awards to the best
projects, and properly monitor the progress of each project. The first call for
proposals will happen as soon as August. The Oversight Committee appointed a
Scientific and Prevention Advisory Council, which includes representatives from
many fields of cancer prevention, research and clinical treatment, to provide
advice about promising areas for investing state dollars in cancer prevention
and research.

"We are so pleased that the Institute is quickly building the infrastructure to
award the best cancer research and prevention projects that Texas has to offer,"
said James M. Mansour, chairman of the Oversight Committee. "We are hopeful that
before the end of the biennium the Institute will be fully funded as the people
of Texas wanted."

Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
Sandra Balderrama, 512-305-8417

Copyright Business Wire 2009

I can teach you about Leadership,but nothing about submission.

Anonymous said...

So in effect the nazis got a 3 billion dollar slush fund over 10 years in texas not to exceed 300 million in any year!

CSHB 1358 would vest too much authority in the Institute’s executive director. Under this bill, the executive director would make the final recommendations for grant funding to the Oversight Committee, rather than a diverse, expert Scientific Research and Prevention Programs committee. Further, these recommendations would be based on the suggestions of a Scientific Research and Prevention Programs committee that the executive director had appointed, rather than the current structure under which the committee would be appointed by various officials to represent the geographic and cultural diversity of the state. Finally, the bill would not provide any check on the authority that it would grant to the executive director to terminate any grant that did not meet contractual obligations. Under these provisions, the executive director singularly would wield too much decision-making power in the use of up to $300 million per year of funding that voters had approved with the expectation that these funds would be governed in a different way.

Anonymous said...

Yet --

when "big tobacco", still a legal industry with the same corporate rights "in theory" as radical pharmaceuticals and fake-charities, was not hands-tied behind its back and prevented through legal, political and propaganda manipulations from making anymore generous beneficial funding to hospitals, research centers, universities, sports affiliates, cultural events, municipalities, schools and so on

-- I do not recall the tobacco industry going onto campus and demanding everyone smoke, smoking be forced onto everyone and nobody be allowed a choice.

No, I don't recall it working that way - at all.

It just goes to show how truly good tobacco companies actually are, versus how intolerant and evil minded are the agents of the anti-smoking industry, how hide behind false words of "goodness", all the while convincing everyone to sell out their freedom and liberty, as well as that of their children and grandchildren, for a bowl of beans.