Most of the time, the government ignores science in all except the most developed countries. Obviously, science is the most important part of humanity, and needs a lot of funding to exist. If governments don't fulfill this need, then we need corporations to do it.
Sure, the corporations will use it for profit, but this is better than having nothing at all.
A company should not be restricted from using money in mutually beneficial agreements. A company and a university can both benefit from an join agreement. With both parties having a profit motive, malinvestment is less likely to occur, and if malinvestment does occur those responsible will lose money. In a free market, universities would see a reduction in enrollment if unproductive agreements with companies were entered.
Corporate sponsorship is perfectly acceptable so long as it is mostly without conditions. Sponsoring individual studies would be out of the question. To give funding to universities as a whole, or even just specific fields within university research, would have no particular problems as long as the research itself did not influence the funding it received.
In short, as long as the money is guaranteed to not be influenced by the research--the researchers are absolutely certain that if they come up with findings contrary to the interests of the sponsor, their funding will not be jeopardized in any way--then corporate sponsorship is just fine. No to sponsoring for profits alone, yes to sponsoring for the sake of advancement. (Even if they decide to sponsor so that they can say they're sponsoring for the sake of advancement, in order to get more profits.)
A corporation's top priority is to make a profit. They need research into different scientific fields. Some have a chance, and if it doesn't then they will make a patent on things that could save the world but only sell it, not give it away. Science is not made for that.
University Inc. By Jennifer Washburn highlights the conflicts of interests in corporate sponsored research in universities. The origins of these types of relationships can be traced back to Berkeley and Novartis and the controversy surrounding their deal. My concern with this issue is on two things: funding/capital and ethical implications. On one hand, these partnerships help universities with large funding that will provide the technology and resources necessary to carry out their research. On the other hand, because corporations have an interest in the research, whatever findings are discovered are intellectual property of the corporation and therefore, not only do they profit off of that, but they can withheld their research methodology from others. The ethics of business and science is contradictory in nature because business is all about profiteering and in this day in age, we live in a knowledge economy; information is sacred, if not vital, to the survival of many businesses and industries. The ethics of science is sharing and collaboration. Therefore, I do not believe corporate sponsorship should be allowed. Yes, capital furthers our knowledge of science and helps with tremendous medical and technological advancements but none of the information that comes from these types of relationships is public. Capitalizing on research only fosters greed and creates large divides in the scientific and medical community.