Accepting funding from tobacco companies for research and other activities

The University recognises the large volume of scientific evidence that tobacco smoking is harmful to human health. The concern surrounding tobacco industry sponsorship of research is an ethical issue because of the capacity of tobacco smoking to cause harm. Further, conditions of funding from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation require that the University does not accept funding for research or related activities from tobacco companies or related organisations.

As such, the University will not accept funding from the tobacco industry for research.

The tobacco industry includes individual companies, or their business units or related entities, whose business is the manufacture, distribution, promotion and sale of tobacco and related products.

E-cigarette research

E-cigarettes (also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems, electronic non-nicotine delivery systems, or 'ENDS') are battery operated devices that heat a liquid (called 'e-liquid or 'e-juice') to produce a vapour that users inhale. The chemical composition of the liquid varies, and may or may not contain nicotine.

The NHMRC advises that "there is currently insufficient evidence about the potential risks and benefits of electronic cigarettes, and further research is required to enable their safety, quality and efficacy to be assessed".

University policy

The university has therefore adopted the following guidelines in relation to tobacco funding of research and e-cigarette research. These guidelines apply to all research and activities that support research and have the potential to support research that is undertaken at the university. This also extends to the acceptance of gifts, sponsorship or travel or conference support or similar.

Guidelines – Tobacco industry sponsored research

Section 1: Purpose

1. The University recognises the large volume of scientific evidence that tobacco smoking is harmful to human health. The concern surrounding tobacco industry sponsorship of research is an ethical issue because of the capacity of tobacco smoking to cause harm.

2. For these guidelines, the tobacco industry includes individual companies, or their business units or related entities, whose business is the manufacture, distribution, promotion and sale of tobacco and related products. This includes foundations sponsored by the tobacco industry.

Section 2: Scope

3. Applicable to all Swinburne University of Technology staff, adjunct appointments and students undertaking research at the university.

Section 3: Guidelines

4. The University will not accept funding from the tobacco industry for research or related activities including sponsorship, gifts and awards or travel or conference attendance.

5. The University will, at the discretion of the DVC (R&D), consider research projects involving e-cigarettes, or the like, but only if the proposed project has been subject to an independent peer review process and the sponsors or partners in the project do not have links to the tobacco industry. The acceptance of the funding and the reporting or communication of research outcomes cannot be construed to support the tobacco industry and its activities.