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EXCLUSIVE / Germany’s largest and most prestigious research institute has pulled out of a Canadian government-funded CAN$25 million research project into sustainable solutions to tar sands pollution, citing fears for its environmental reputation.
As many as 20 scientists at the world-famous Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres have ceased involvement in the Helmholtz Alberta Initiative (HAI), after a moratorium on contacts was declared last month.
“It was seen as a risk for our reputation,” Professor Frank Messner, Helmholtz UFZ’s head of staff said stiffly over the phone from his offices in Leipzig.
“As an environmental research centre we have an independent role as an honest broker and doing research in this constellation could have had reputational problems for us, especially after Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol,” he said.