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Gulf oil spill: BP grants $500 million for independent research

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Questions about independence

"It will be helpful to have the money from BP – if it's used in a way that's consistent with the public interest," he adds. "But it's not independent just because someone declares it independent, especially if the person declaring is the one it's supposed to be independent from."

BP initially unveiled the program on May 24. On June 15, it announced that three institutions – Louisiana State University, the Florida Institute of Oceanography, and the Northern Gulf Institute – would receive a combined $25 million as a first installment in the decade-long program. The two institutes represent long-standing collaborations among some 27, largely university-based, marine-science programs.

The oil giant also released the names of six prominent researchers from the US, Australia, Germany, and Britain who would act as an advisory panel.

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