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The Ethics of Human Rights Philanthropy

news editor11 June 2012

Claire Lougarre, UCL Laws PhD candidate

Professor Philippe Sands and Sigrid Rausing

What would you do if  Saif Gaddafi offered you millions of pounds towards a research project, or if Rupert Murdoch did? Accepting money for research from philanthropic sources, or from people who might want to set research agendas, is a difficult ethical minefield.

Luckily, at this UCL Institute for Human Rights event on 29 May, we had capable guides to see us through the issues. Even if they did not have all the answers, they were certainly equipped to ask and deepen our understanding of the right questions.

Professor Philippe Sands QC welcomed Sigrid Rausing (Rausing Trust), Professor Jonathan Wolff (UCL Philosophy), Anthony Tomei (Nuffield Foundation) and Dr George Letsas (UCL Laws) to the panel.

Preserving independence
Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia (UCL Political Sciences), co-director of the Institute, welcomed the large audience by highlighting the recent UCL campaign to raise more than £300 million for UCL projects from donors. Does giving money buy you influence and power?

UCL Council has asserted its commitment to preserve the university’s independence from any donor agenda. Nevertheless, in the light of recent scandals, such as Gaddafi’s funding of the LSE, which led to the Woolf Enquiry, the question of ethics in research philanthropy remains.

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Scholarships and Bursaries reception: Letting the students do the talking

Carly Schnabl1 April 2011

On Monday 21 March, UCL hosted the inaugural student-led Scholarships and Bursaries reception, celebrating the impact of philanthropic support for students at UCL reports Emily Peirson-Webber (UCL Development and Alumni Relations).

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Provost’s Circle reception 2011

Carly Schnabl8 March 2011

The Provost’s Circle is a collective of individuals who have each pledged a gift of £1,000 or more to UCL in the last twelve months, and together want to help to shape the university’s future.

UCL President and Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant hosted this year’s reception at the end of January, and throughout the evening was able to personally thank everyone in attendance.

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