The car manufacturer has funded the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), according to The Times.
The EUGT’s managing director, Michael Spallek, was also a senior employee of Volkswagen for 10 years and worked for both simultaneously, the newspaper claimed.
Volkswagen is at the centre of a corporate scandal after it emerged last month that the company fitted so-called defeat devices to 11 million of its cars in order to cheat emissions tests.
EUGT research reportedly includes the claim that "the existing scientific data have not yet presented a uniform picture of the effect of nitrogen dioxide on people".
Spallek is thought to have sent a draft EUGT report criticising research linking diesel fumes to lung cancer to senior VW employees a month before the emissions scandal broke.
He told them the EUGT’s report contained "important new findings" to "conclusively" dispute the findings.
Volkswagen UK was contacted but declined to comment.
Earlier this month, the same newspaper published details of Coca-Cola's gift of nearly £5m to the European Hydration Institute, which recommends the consumption of drinks made by the company, as well as providing funding to the British Nutrition Foundation and the National Obesity Forum. Coca-Cola responded by promising greater transparency in the future.