Research funding from the tobacco industry process


To ensure that the credibility of research findings and their interpretation, acceptance and implementation are not compromised by association with the tobacco industry.


Funds derived indirectly from the tobacco industry, in the form of taxes and duties, and then redistributed as targeted funding are not subject to this process.


Tobacco industry: The tobacco industry comprises individual companies, or their component parts, whose primary business is the manufacture, distribution, promotion and sale of tobacco and related products.

Tobacco Company: A company that:

  • derives over 5% of revenues from manufacturing tobacco products, or;
  • derives 15%+ of revenues from the manufacture of products necessary for the production of tobacco products, or;
  • derives 15% of revenues from the sale of tobacco products (and has 30 or more staff), or;
  • owns a tobacco company (the company owns 50% or more of a tobacco company), or;
  • is more than 50% owned by a company with tobacco involvement.

The following do not constitute tobacco industry funding:

  • legacies from tobacco industry investments (provided these are sold on immediately), or;
  • funding from a trust or foundation no longer having any connection with the tobacco industry even though it may bear a name that (for historical reasons) has tobacco industry associations.

Source: Cancer Council UK Code of Practice on Tobacco Industry Funding to Universities (PDF)

Process steps

1. When applying for funding for health related research, researchers will ensure that the funding sources do not include funding from the tobacco industry.

2. Where researchers wish to apply for funding from the tobacco industry for non-health related research, they will:

2.1. Discuss the potential funding application with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation or delegate;

2.2. Gain formal approval from the RMIT Council before applying for such funding; and,

2.3. Ensure that RMIT has full responsibility for, and control over, the conduct of the research and any dissemination of the research findings.

3. RMIT staff will ensure that RMIT University does not accept funding that involves any promotion or advertising that supports the tobacco industry or the tobacco industry lobby and its activities.

4. When advertising grant opportunities, RMIT staff will ensure that they do not advertise any grant opportunities from the tobacco industry.

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