Ask Us Anything About GMOs!

Are the universities your "Experts" work for funded by Monsanto?

A:Expert Answer

I am not sure I understand your question exactly, but I presume you are asking if the people who respond to these questions as a courtesy to the public on behalf of the university where they are employed receive funding from Monsanto. The answer is likely yes.  Monsanto and other companies involved in agriculture and other scientific disciplines provide funding for research at many, if not most, public land grant universities and also many private institutions. Given the dearth of federal funding, this support is very important and enables researchers to move forward with independent research that will ultimately support the general public.


I also recognize that there are concerns about whether we in the land grant universities are influenced by these companies or whether their financial support is ethical. That is unfortunate. I have spent 40 years in the land grant system, and I don’t see an issue with conflict of interest. I am guided first by my personal ethics to conduct and report unbiased research, as well as by a comprehensive set of policies and processes developed by the university.


We would welcome funding to conduct research from other sources, but, unfortunately, those don’t exist.  It is important to point out that when we accept funding from a company, most of the time those funds do not have strings attached.  We accept funds to conduct research in our focused area of study, and we are given free rein to publish the results, regardless of whether they are in the company's favor or not.

A:Expert Answer

It might surprise you to know that the majority of funding for research at universities is from the federal government.  However, Monsanto does fund research with universities all across the United States.  Not surprisingly, projects are funded at the universities with the talent that enables progress in the areas that support our projects.  For instance, if we want to study weed management, we go to universities or scientists that are highly experienced in weed management.  You would do the same. 


It stands to reason that many of the experts on this website work or have worked at universities that have been engaged in research for biotechnology applications for agriculture—that's how they became experts.  And Monsanto has provided funding to some of these universities—but not at all in a way that is connected to these experts' work to help answer questions on this site.  The experts are volunteering their time. 


Monsanto has also funded universities that have been affiliated with authors who were critical of GM.  In the last year, a paper with no original data was written, in which the authors speculated on Roundup's role in diseases.  A question about this paper was answered on this website. One of the authors was affiliated with MIT, and Monsanto has given funds to MIT.


Other experts on this website, such as farmers, are not affiliated with any university at all. 

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