Students keep an eye on corporate university sponsors

Struggling with tightening purse strings and shrinking research budgets, Germany's universities are fighting back with funding from big business. A new online portal aims to publicise any dubious sponsorship deals, writes Richard Fuchs for Deutsche Welle.

As the head of the Free Association of Student Bodies, 25-year-old Berlin chemistry student Erik Marquardt represents around 80 student groups from across Germany, and has long been keeping a watchful eye on just how closely corporations and universities are connected through third-party funding. Last week, together with the Free Association of Student Bodies and the Berlin daily newspaper taz, he launched the University Watch project.

Marquardt, is sceptical about the partnership contracts between the University of Cologne and the pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, the details of which remain closed to the public. He's also been observing Berlin's two big universities, both of which ran an institute together with Deutsche Bank.
Full report on the Deutsche Welle site