Rick Roush

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American entomologist Professor Rick Roush is Dean of Land and Food Resources at the University of Melbourne. He was previously Director of the Statewide IPM Programme at University of California, Davis. Before that he was formerly chief executive officer of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Australian Weed Management in Adelaide. He has been a former member of Australia's Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee.

Roush is also a pro-GM activist who has left his mark on many e-mail lists, from several of which he has been banned or has 'retired' in the face of complaint.

In 2002 a study by Roush and his CRC colleagues was published in the American journal Science. The team had studied GM canola (oilseed rape) pollen drift on trial fields in southern Australia and claimed to have found that unwanted gene transfer occurred in such minute quantities that they believed non-GM crops were "not in any danger"[1]

However, as the journal Nature has noted, Roush and his co-authors failed to 'mention that two biotech corporations - Monsanto and Aventis Crop Sciences (now owned by Bayer) - paid nearly 20% of the costs of the trials. Science requires contributors to declare financial ties that might be construed as influencing the outcome of their research.'[2]

As a result of this incident Science revised its disclosure policy so that all funding sources must be revealed in the paper's reference section. The scientific evidence shows that any financial relationship with a relevant industry is likely to be associated with the expression of a more positive attitude towards the safety of that industry's products. For instance, a January 1998 study in The New England Journal of Medicine[3] showed a strong association between authors' published positions on product safety and their financial relationships with the relevant industry. More recently a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that industry-sponsored studies are nearly four times more likely to reach pro-industry conclusions than are studies that are not industry-sponsored. [4]



  1. Rieger, M. A., M. Lamond, et al. (2002). Pollen-mediated movement of herbicide resistance between commercial canola fields. Science 296(5577): 2386-2388
  2. Knight, Jonathan, Journals wrestle with definition of 'competing' interest Nature 423, 908, 26 Jun 2003. Behind paywall
  3. Stelfox, H. T., G. Chua, et al. (1998). Conflict of interest in the debate over calcium-channel antagonists. N Engl J Med 338(2): 101-106
  4. Bekelman, J. E., Y. Li, et al. (2003). Scope and impact of financial conflicts of interest in biomedical research: a systematic review. JAMA 289(4): 454-465