Industry funded research poses ethical dilemmas

Oct 6, 2014

Kevin Elliot

Federal funding for scientific research, in everything from energy to biomedical science, has flatlined in recent years. Some scientists worry that means the U.S. will fall behind other countries in scientific and technological advancements. But it also means an increasing share of the nation’s research is done by industry.

Around two-thirds of the scientific research and development in the U.S. is privately funded, according to the National Science Foundation. But having manufacturers of things like drugs or pesticides evaluate the safety of their own products raises some thorny ethical dilemmas.

Current State speaks with Kevin Elliot, an associate professor at Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs College with a joint appointment in the Philosophy and Fisheries and Wildlife departments.