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University, Industry, and Government Alliances: Escalating Conflicts with the Public Interest

PAM, Vol. 8 No. 3, (2003)

This paper addresses threats to the public interest in a period where
economic globalization has promoted increasing university, industry, and
government collaborations. A significant focus of these partnerships has been
industry-supported research that purports to serve the public interest but
instead creates conflicts of interest for both universities and government. The
implications are drawn especially for academic researchers with
entrepreneurial pursuits. In addition, specific examples are given of how
existing regulatory mechanisms have been inadequate with respect to
preventing the intrusion of corporate profit-making over the public welfare.
In the context of national and state budgetary shortfalls, it will become that
much more attractive for institutions to seek commercial support to realize
public interest goals. For this reason, the impact of commercially funded
activities deserves much more public policy attention.

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