Kevin Folta responds to questions about funding of his biotech outreach efforts

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In addition to my job as a researcher and a department chair, I run the Talking Biotech science communication program designed to help students, faculty and staff become conversant in how to talk about, and teach, biotechnology concepts. It has evolved into an effective and in-demand program.

The program and its funding were discussed in Nature on August 6, 2015, by Keith Kloor, and I felt additional clarification might be helpful. I’ve found support from several corporate entities, including Monsanto.  They provided funds for 12 of my outreach talks and sponsored a larger multi-speaker workshop. Monsanto had no control of content, no suggestions on what we’d teach, but funded facilities charges, lunch, and speakers’ travel. That stuff is expensive. But Monsanto does not, and never has, funded my research in any way.

Who else funds my outreach work?   When I give talks I do not accept an honorarium.  I feel that it is my job to provide talks free of charge, as a public scientist. When I do speak, I request that an appropriate donation be made to my outreach program. This account contains kind donations from the US Pork Board, an LED company, Manitoba Canola Growers, Mosaic Co, and others.

My outreach program slides are online at http://www.slideshare.net/kevinfolta/presentations. You can  see that they are 100 percent supported by scientific evidence. This is about teaching scientists how to talk about science. While it will be spun by many to be some source of undue collusion, the content is factual, based on evidence, and in line with scientific consensus. One hundred percent of funds go to defray travel costs, buy a tray of subs for the students, and pay fees for facility rental.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Contributions, Funding and Outreach

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