Universities Selling Out Important Research to Corporate Overseers

How is this even legal?

UC Regents recently approved a new corporate entity that will likely give a group of well-connected businesspeople control over how academic research is used.

In a unanimous vote last month, the Regents of the University of California created a corporate entity that, if spread to all UC campuses as some regents envision, promises to further privatize scientific research produced by taxpayer-funded laboratories. The entity, named Newco for the time being, also would block a substantial amount of UC research from being accessible to the public, and could reap big profits for corporations and investors that have ties to the well-connected businesspeople who will manage it.

Despite the sweeping changes the program portends for UC, the regents' vote received virtually no press coverage.

... under Newco, decisions about the fate of academic research will be taken away from university employees and faculty, and put in the hands of a powerful board of businesspeople who will be separate from the university. This nonprofit board will decide which UC inventions to patent and how to structure licensing deals with private industry. It also will have control over how to spend public funds on these activities.

Many of the UC Regents are also close friends of investors who want ... the university to subsidize early-stage business expenses and take financial risks by investing in technology startups. [emphasis mine]

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Replies to This Discussion

It is legal because most of the regents are business people, having nothing to do with education, and business people are emboldened by the current political climate allowing privatization of almost everything. The corporations are in almost complete control at every level of the political landscape.

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