This is the second in a series of posts that seeks to examine British academia’s “strategic partnerships with industry”.
The following slideshow shares some of University College London’s ‘strategic business partnerships’‘
(1) The declarations all come from the ABPI voluntary register ‘Disclosure UK’ and should not be considered to be a complete record. The other slides are examples of “joint working” between UCL and industry.
(2) University College London confirmed on the 17 December 2018 that any declarations that staff make regarding competing financial issues are NOT available to the public.
(3) I asked a senior academic who has worked at UCL for a good part of his/her career about transparency. These are some of the responses I received:
“I support full transparency. I just don’t agree with your way of going about trying to get it . . . I admire your persistence, but this is much more of a priority to you than it is to me, I am afraid . . . I do wonder whether asking about “Sunshine legislation” might put people on the defensive because it does have a slightly accusatory flavour. . . . Most people in my experience have nothing to hide and would be happy to declare their interests. I guess it’s important to help those people who might have a more complex relationship with the issue to not feel persecuted.”
I then went on to ask this senior UCL academic if he/she supported Sunshine legislation? These are some of the responses I received: “I have other windmills of my own to tilt at before I go, I am afraid . . . I support colleagues making full and honest declarations of their competing interests and their failure to do this being punished by the regulator in the same way that any breach of professional standards or probity would. I am not sure whether legislation is the way to do it and I don’t like the ‘sunshine’ label.” This senior UCL academic has gone on to describe greater transparency in science as a “misguided pursuit”.