Published: 22-03-2017 08:15 | Updated: 23-03-2017 08:33

Karolinska Institutet announces new decision: researcher was not careless

Karolinska Institutet’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Karin Dahlman-Wright has announced her decision that researcher Karl-Henrik Grinnemo did not act carelessly when making a grant application to the Swedish Research Council, overturning KI’s previous decision on he matter.

Dr Grinnemo was reported in April 2014 for, among other things, having used data without permission from the now dissolved ACTREM, a research group led by Paolo Macchiarini, who at the time was a visiting professor at Karolinska Institutet.

In 2015, the then Ethics Council at Karolinska Institutet issued its pronouncement on the case, which KI’s former vice-chancellor accepted and upon which he based his formal decision – that Dr Grinnemo was guilty of carelessness, but not of scientific misconduct.

After the former vice-chancellor’s resignation, the matter was submitted by KI’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Karin Dahlman-Wright to the Central Ethical Review Board’s (CEPN) expert panel for scientific misconduct for an official pronouncement.

In December 2016, the expert group issued its statement in which it noted that many of those working within the research group made use of one another’s data in various grant applications in order to obtain funding for ACTREM.

While the expert group expressed scepticism about whether this strategy for attracting research funding was consistent with accepted scientific practice, it did conclude that it was likely the result of a systemic fault rather than personal misconduct.

Karolinska Institutet’s decision on 21 March is consistent with the CEPN exert group’s pronouncement.

“The manner in which the application in question was handled was likely based on a systemic error for which an individual researcher cannot be held accountable,” commented Professor Dahlman-Wright.

“In the former vice-chancellor’s view, the matter could have been about plagiarism,” she continued. “With today’s decision, Dr Grinnemo is cleared of any such suspicion.”