Monday, August 5, 2013

Green and Chem at Cal

"University Inc.-After years of distrust, academia and industry are forming alliances for chemical research" By Rick Mullin

Dow’s commitment to UC Berkeley came despite earlier resistance on campus to its involvement with the school in a nonresearch capacity. In 2007, the firm launched a five-year program in which a Dow executive, Tony Kingsbury, worked on-site with the university to develop a course on sustainable chemical products.
The program met with considerable pushback from Michael P. Wilson, director of the Labor Occupational Health Program at Berkeley’s School of Public Health, who contends that one of Dow’s incentives in setting up on campus was to become involved in the university’s policy proposals to the state legislature regarding green chemistry.
According to Wilson, Dow initially offered $10 million as a gift to the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, where he is associate director of integrative sciences. The offer came with a request that the center be named for the company and that a Dow executive be placed on its staff, but it was rebuffed, Wilson says.
The company instead gave the money to Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, which helped create the green chemistry center. Kingsbury maintained an office at the school for the duration of the five-year partnership, which recently ended without being renewed.
Although Dow has been credited for financing the green chemistry center at a time when state funding of research was being cut back, Wilson says the California Environmental Protection Agency provided “foundational funding” for the center.
“Over five years, we tangled with Tony and struggled with his influence on campus, which was manifold,” Wilson says. He objected to a Dow executive teaching seminars and claims that Kingsbury was asked to stop identifying himself as a Berkeley affiliate in his communication with state agencies.
Kingsbury, who now works as a consultant, dismisses Wilson’s concerns, telling C&EN that professionals with undergraduate degrees routinely teach seminars in business schools. He denies that he misrepresented himself.

Green is the color Haas will take, as usual.

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