01/28/2013 07:48 EST | Updated 03/30/2013 05:12 EDT

Scientist Calls U Of C Energy Centre A Failure

The Olympic flame burns at the Olympic Oval as people arrive in a snow flurry at the ISU World Cup short track speed skating event in Calgary, Alberta, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Southern Alberta is experience a cold spell with 5-10 centimeters of snow forecast over the weekend. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
The former head of an energy research centre at the University of Calgary is calling the centre a failure.

Climate scientist David Keith says the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy is critically important, but has not been able to balance the interests of private industry and environmental advocates.

Keith says the university for example, removed an academic at the request of Enbridge.

"That just fundamentally misconceives the university's role," says Keith who is now a professor at Harvard University in the United States.

Liberal MLA David Swann says he's concerned.

"It's affecting both the direction of research and the results of research and it throws into question the results we're producing at the university of Calgary," Swann said.

Meanwhile, Liberal leader Raj Sherman is calling for an investigation.

"The Integrity of one of our top institutions has been brought into question by a highly respected individual," Sherman says. "This needs to be looked at."

Enbridge released a statement to CBC saying the company was not involved in the recruitment process, the appointment nor changes to leadership roles at the university and "any claims to the contrary are categorically false."

"A lot of people put a lot of effort into this institution. A lot of good will effort. A lot of good people at U of C worked hard and we basically fumbled this institution," says Keith.

He adds poor management on the part of the university, which took too long to make important decisions about the Institute, contributed to its failure.

In a written statement to the CBC, the University of Calgary says the centre was created to develop cost-effective solutions to the environmental challenges of energy production and use.

"We believe ISEE is delivering on that mandate," reads the statement.

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