David Keith, a Harvard climate scientist, is calling the University of Calgary’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy a failure. ISEEE is a graduate research institute that develops sustainable solutions and was created in 2004.
Keith, who was the director of energy and environmental systems group within ISEEE, until Sept. 2011, told the CBC that the university allowed corporate influence to alter the interests of ISEEE, and that a researcher was terminated from his position at the request of multinational energy company Enbridge.
According to reports by the CBC, Enbridge denied Keith’s claims, saying they were inaccurate and false and that Enbridge is not a part of the U of C’s recruitment process.
Politicians, such as Liberal leader Raj Sherman, are requesting that an investigation be carried out to determine whether corporate influence determined the termination of a U of C academic.
Keith also said that poor management of the institute allowed for its inability to achieve sustainable, cost-effective goals.
“A lot of good people at the U of C worked hard and we basically fumbled this institution,” Keith told the CBC on Jan. 28.
A statement by the U of C released on Jan. 27 says that the university acts according to the best interests of its academics and staff.
“The University of Calgary respects the freedom of all academics to publicly express their opinions. This philosophy is the foundation for creating a rich teaching and learning environment that promotes diverse ideas and perspectives.”
In 2011, Haskayne partnered with Enbridge, starting the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability.
The U of C and ISEEE will continue efforts to work with researchers and academics to develop sustainable strategies, according to a U of C statement.
“The university is currently developing an ambitious, interdisciplinary energy research strategy with extensive input from, and consultation with, the internal academic community, the energy industry and the government.”
Keith and members of the U of C were unavailable for comment.