Friday, November 16, 2007

Australian Stem Cell Inquiry Linked to Trounson Concluded

Monash University has apparently reached a conclusion in its investigation into $1 million stem cell research project headed by Alan Trounson, the incoming president of the California stem cell agency.

Trounson was not under investigation, although a researcher who worked under him was.

Here is what the Sydney Morning Herald said:
"A Monash University investigation into an abandoned million-dollar stem cell research project, headed by world renowned Melbourne scientist Alan Trounson, has found data and reports were handled negligently.

"The investigation committee made no finding that the negligent conduct by an unnamed research fellow working under Professor Trounson was fraudulent or designed to deceive."
The newspaper continued:
"In a statement on Friday, Monash Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Larkins said there were mitigating circumstances leading to the negligence by the senior research fellow.

"The review found that the senior research team member was inexperienced in managing a project of the type and size undertaken and inexperienced in supervising the number of researchers and students he had in his charge.

"It said his work included negligent recording of research data, negligent inaccurate preparation of reports and presentations of research results to the ASCC, and negligently failing to report results in a timely fashion."
The Herald-Sun reported:
"In a statement issued this afternoon by Vice-Chancellor Richard Larkins, a committee investigating the matter found "that the senior research fellow engaged in conduct that was negligent and seriously deviated from accepted standards within the scientific and scholarly community for conducting and reporting research".

John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for the Foundation for Taxpaper and Consumer Rights, had this comment.
"I've not yet read the investigators' report; only Australian news accounts.

"It appears that while Alan Trounson was not implicated in any wrongdoing, the research abuse happened on his watch, done by someone he had hired.

"The incident demonstrates once again the need for strict oversight and adherence to guidelines when public money finances research. Complete openness and transparency are the guarantor of good practices.

"I expect Dr. Trounson has learned from the Monash University incident and will bring an even greater commitment to those essential values in his new position as president of the California Institute for Regenerative
Medicine."
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