MD Anderson 'Ousts' 3 Researchers Flagged by NIH

April 22, 2019

MD Anderson Cancer Center has “ousted” three researchers after the National Institutes of Health informed it that the researchers had violated agency rules regarding confidentiality of peer review and disclosure of foreign ties, Science reported.

MD Anderson, which is part of the University of Texas system, received letters from the NIH about five researchers and invoked termination proceedings for three of them; it is still investigating the allegations involving the fourth and determined termination was not merited in the fifth case. All five of the researchers were identified as Asian, and several faced inquiries about their ties to China.

The NIH last August announced that it was concerned about foreign threats to the integrity of NIH-funded research and specifically cited concerns about the “diversion of intellectual property [IP] in grant applications or produced by NIH-supported biomedical research to other entities, including other countries”; the “sharing of confidential information on grant applications by NIH peer reviewers with others, including foreign entities”; and the “failure by some researchers working at NIH-funded institutions in the U.S. to disclose substantial resources from other organizations, including foreign governments.” The agency has since sent letters to universities outlining concerns about specific researchers' foreign ties. Science reported that at least 55 universities have launched investigations in response to the NIH's inquiries.

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