The EMF Biological Research Trust is a UK-based medical research charity which funds basic research on the biological effects of the environmental extremely-low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMF) commonly associated with the distribution of electric power.
It was created by National Grid, who wanted to ensure greater independence for the programme of biological research it was funding in the early 1990s. It is open to the Trust to obtain funding from any source, but in practice, its funding comes solely from National Grid.
The National Grid funding is currently £500k per year. This has been guaranteed on a rolling three-year-ahead basis, so the Trust know they will receive sufficient funding in the future to cover research projects they initiate now. The funding will cease after the 2016 payment.
To ensure the independence of the research from National Grid, there are two key provisions:
The detailed decisions about which lines of research to pursue and which specific research projects to fund is made by the Trust's Scientific Advisory Committee. There are no National Grid representatives on this Committee at all. National Grid scientists meet the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee at intervals to discuss how the research is progressing, but both parties are scrupulous not to allow any influence or appearance of it.
The Trust is governed by the Trustees. The constitution of the Trust - drawn up by National Grid - requires that National Grid trustees are in a minority. Currently, there are 8 trustees, of whom 2 are from National Grid (a third worked in the electricity industry, though not for National Grid, before retiring).