A Queensland cancer researcher has been found to have fabricated scientific data used in support of grant funding applications and human trials, his former employer says.
This Queensland news story left us furious and dismayed. We can only imagine the betrayal that cancer survivors and donors must be feeling. If the details of this story are accurate, they highlight something that all research institutions are wise to bear in mind, the fact an individual is a research rock star doesn’t mean that they can’t be responsible for research misconduct and other breaches. Allegations involving high profile researchers should be treated with the same rigour as allegations relating to the conduct of early career researchers.
An independent panel, led by retired Queensland Court of Appeal judge Robert Gotterson and which included three eminent scientists, found Professor Smyth had seriously breached codes relating to the responsible conduct of research and the use of animals in research.
“The institute referred the findings to Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission, in line with its legislative obligations,” QIMR Berghofer said in a statement released on Tuesday.
“The findings against Mark Smyth included fabrication of research data, which was used to support grant funding applications and clinical trials.”
The institute said while there was no indication that participant safety had been compromised in any human trials using Professor Smyth’s research data, it had taken “decisive action” to notify the clinical studies involved.