Published: 05-09-2016 08:22 | Updated: 05-09-2016 08:25

Sifo survey: Macchiarini case has damaged KI’s reputation

A survey conducted by TNS Sifo shows that Karolinska Institutet’s reputation has plummeted from 85 to 59 on a scale of 0 to 100. The reason is the Macchiarini scandal.

For the fourth year in succession, TNS Sifo has conducted an online survey of Sweden’s universities that explains their varying public reputations.

Last year (2015) Karolinska Institutet ranked fourth with 85 on the academic “reputation index”, under Chalmers University of Technology (89), the Royal College of Technology (86) and Lund University (86).

In this year’s survey Karolinska Institutet has fallen to 12th place with an index score of 59 as a consequence of the recent year’s controversy surrounding Paolo Macchiarini and his position of researcher at the university.

“This is extremely serious and we are not at all happy about this, but we have to acknowledge the fact and do our very utmost to improve the situation,” says Karolinska Institutet’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Karin Dahlman-Wright to Swedish Television.

The damaging factor is the widespread denigration of the university management’s ethical and moral credentials. Its conduct when the Macchiarini case came to light and its handling of the media during the crisis also come under heavy fire.

According to Sifo survey manager Toivo Sjörén, Karolinska Institutet was saved from falling even further by the solid reputation it enjoys for its teaching and other research. According to the survey, the strengths of the university’s reputation are its research successes, its global ranking, its quality education and its contributions to society.

“We now have to rebuild public trust,” says Karin Dahlman-Wright. “We want to show that KI is much more than Macchiarini and how our research really contributes to the health not only of the individual but also of society at large.”

The inquiry into KI’s handling of the Macchiarini case is due to be presented on Monday 5 September along with recommendations on how it can prevent similar incidents from happening again.