An investigation by an Australian university has found evidence of negligence but not fraud in a project headed by stem-cell researcher Alan Trounson. The focus has been on an unnamed senior researcher. Trounson, incoming president of California's US$3-billion stem-cell research programme, has not been accused of misconduct.
Monash University in Victoria launched the investigation in April, after an audit by the Australian Stem Cell Centre found inconsistencies in quarterly progress reports submitted by the research team. The Aus$1-million (US$890,000) project, which aimed to find stem-cell therapies for smoking-induced lung damage, has been on hold since February, when questions first arose.
Investigators concluded that the senior researcher, who has left the university, lacked sufficient management experience for his position, and was negligent in his reporting of the data. Monash is considering whether to repay the funds to the stem-cell centre.
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Stem-cell researcher accused of negligence. Nature 450, 470 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/450470c