The urologist at the centre of Austria's biggest-ever research scandal can return to work at the Medical University of Innsbruck, a disciplinary committee has ruled.

Hannes Strasser was suspended from clinical, teaching and research duties in September 2008 following accusations of malpractice in a clinical trial using stem cells to treat urinary incontinence (see Nature 454, 922; 2008).

The national disciplinary committee responsible for university staff has now concluded that the suspension was not legally justified, as more than three years had passed since the alleged misdemeanour occurred.

Strasser, who is facing criminal charges relating to harming patients or putting them at risk of harm, is on paid leave until the end of January. He will not be allowed to treat patients until the criminal case is resolved — which is likely to take at least a year. An investigation by the Austrian National Academy of Sciences is also ongoing.