Leading medical research Institute QIMR Berghofer has commissioned an independent external investigation after a number of complaints relating to the research conduct of a former employee Professor Mark Smyth.
QIMR Berghofer followed the process set out in the NHMRC and ARC Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
This included a preliminary investigation, after which QIMR Berghofer appointed an external independent Investigation Panel, which was chaired by retired Appeal Court Judge Robert Gotterson AO. Mr Gotterson was joined by three eminent independent scientists.
The Investigation Panel found that Professor Smyth seriously breached Codes relating to responsible research conduct. In accordance with procedural fairness, Professor Smyth will be given the opportunity to review the investigation process.
QIMR Berghofer has referred the findings to the Crime and Corruption Commission in accordance with its legislative obligations.
QIMR Berghofer has also organised for an independent review into a broad range of issues arising out of the Panel Report. The review will be conducted by Bruce Lander QC, former Federal Court Judge and inaugural Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (South Australia).
QIMR Director and CEO, Professor Fabienne Mackay said the findings were deeply disappointing and the Institute would emerge from this incident with the most stringent integrity protocols in the country.
“QIMR Berghofer is introducing a new robust research integrity framework under which all staff will be expected to operate, in consultation with leading research integrity experts.
“Our researchers and community deserve only the highest standards and that is what we are going to deliver,” she said.