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Final Fall Research Ethics Series Lecturer: Jonathan Marks - November 18th

We rely on universities to conduct research that seeks to explore and address society’s most complex and pressing problems—from obesity and cancer to energy and climate change. However, universities rely increasingly on money from industry to fund scientific research. Sometimes industry support comes in the form of research grants; at other times, in the form of corporate philanthropy. Critics often express concern about individual financial conflicts of interest, pointing to several studies that find a correlation between industry funding of research and results that are more favorable to industry sponsors.
When: Nov 18, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Where: 104 Thomas Building, University Park, PA 16802

Contact: Rob Peeler

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Jonathan Marks

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Jonathan H. Marks is currently a non-residential fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. He leads a collaborative research project that is jointly funded by the Rock Ethics Institute and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics (through its Lab on Institutional Corruption), exploring the ethical and policy implications of industry sponsorship of health-related food research, nutrition education, and practice. Marks has co-organized—with Donald B. Thompson, emeritus professor of food science at Penn State—a workshop sponsored by the Rock Ethics Institute on “The Ethical Challenges and Policy Implications of Industry-Funded Health-Related Food Research” (Penn State, March 2008), a follow-up symposium entitled “Industry Sponsorship and Health-Related Food Research Institutional Integrity, Ethical Challenges, and Policy Implications” (Penn State, March 2012); and the Rock Ethics Institute’s Food Ethics Lecture Series 2011–12. Marks took the lead role in developing Penn State’s new dual-title Ph.D. program in bioethics (the first of its kind in the country) that allows and requires students to combine bioethics with one of a number of other disciplines in their dissertation. Marks has published widely on the intersections of law, ethics, human rights, and policy, and his work has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Law and Medicine, American Journal of Bioethics, and the Hastings Center Report (among others). He has also authored or co-authored op-eds for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Times (London) (among others). In addition to his work on food ethics, he writes about, teaches courses, and has co-organized an international conference on neuroethics and neurolaw. He has also written extensively about the role of health professionals in detention and interrogation in the “war on terror”—part of an ongoing larger project that explores the relationship between professional ethics and human rights. Jonathan Marks spent 2009–2011 in residence at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, and prior to joining Penn State, was a Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities. Marks is also a barrister and academic member of Matrix Chambers, London. While in full time legal practice, he was involved in a number of landmark cases including the Pinochet case and the Olivieri case—the latter arising from a dispute between a physician-researcher and the drug company sponsor of her clinical trials.

When We Dance…Mapping the Systemic Ethical Implications of the Research University’s Relationships with Industry

We rely on universities to conduct research that seeks to explore and address society’s most complex and pressing problems—from obesity and cancer to energy and climate change.  However, universities rely increasingly on money from industry to fund scientific research.  Sometimes industry support comes in the form of research grants; at other times, in the form of corporate philanthropy.  Critics often express concern about individual financial conflicts of interest, pointing to several studies that find a correlation between industry funding of research and results that are more favorable to industry sponsors.   However, far less attention has been paid to the broader systemic effects of industry funding on research universities and on scientific research.  This lecture will explore these broader systemic effects, and examine the ethical implications of academy-industry relations, with a focus on institutional integrity; scientific integrity; and trust and confidence in scientists, their institutions, and the products of their research.

Part of the Research Ethics Lecture Series.