$300,000 Marsden grant to academic accused of lying

The Royal Society granted $300,000 recently to Dr Lindsay Robertson for the topic:

Can a leopard change its spots? Exploring Big Tobacco as a proponent of smokefree goals.

Dr Robertson tweeted:

You don’t have to be Einstein to work out that the findings will of course be that the industry should have no say at all on how they are regulated.

But what makes this case interesting is what happened in 2018. Dr Robertson tweeted:

Visited the IQOS store in Seoul today. It was conveyed as a high-end fashion item. Tobacco unmentioned. No age restrictions. I told sales-person I was a non-smoker. She was still happy to sell to me, despite the two signs claiming IQOS is only for smokers. pic.twitter.com/AUPlksvbNW— Lindsay Robertson (@dr_lindsaybells) November 25, 2018

And then a Vice-President of PMI responded:

Now one might be inclined to believe the public health academic over the evil tobacco company except PMI referred to CCTV footage which they claims disproves the claims of Dr Robertson.

PMI can’t release it without her agreement. I would have thought she would be happy to have proof of her claims released. But instead her Twitter account went private, and has been so ever since.

Baring in mind this history, you do have to wonder the appropriateness of awarding $300,000 to someone who has been accused of lying about the very industry her research grant is about.

The easiest way to resolve it would be for permission to be granted for the CCTV footage to be released to see who was telling the truth.