Thursday, December 22, 2005

Staggering fraud at UMDMJ in New Jersey

Keeping with the theme of fraud in academics, the Newark Star-Ledger ran a story "Staggering Fraud Likely at UMDMJ. Codey: Probe could find scandal tops tens of millions." US Attorney Christopher Christie is investigating.

The cost in wasted federal research monies allocated in following up the fraudulent research of Jan-Hendrik Schon has also been estimated (at least) in the tens of millions. Stem cell researchers are currently worried about the possible fallout from the allegations about the research of Professor Woo Suk Hwang. This work inspired a global ramp-up in stem cell efforts. If the Hwang work proves to be false, much of that money may have been wasted.

***from Professor David Rebovich

In the meantime, given UMDNJ's problems one has to wonder what will happen to the support in the legislature and from Codey and Corzine for a stem cell research institute. UMDNJ was supposed to play a central role in this research and receive public funds and attract private money to help make New Jersey a leader in this emerging field. Given its legal and financial woes, will UMDNJ lose some of its top researchers, frighten away potential private partners and investors, and make lawmakers leery about involving the University in anything so major until the federal investigation is complete?

***Separately on Jan. 5, 2006:

Dead for this legislative session, Assembly Speaker-designate Joseph Roberts said Wednesday he expects an altered version of the now-tabled stem cell research initiative to be resurrected in coming months.

Roberts, D-5 of Camden, made the statement one day after he and current Assembly Speaker Albio Sires said they would not post the $350 million stem cell research initiative by the end of the lame duck legislative session on Monday.


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