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Medical researchers in Germany receive largest grants of all university disciplines

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7372 (Published 14 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7372

Re: Medical researchers in Germany receive largest grants of all university disciplines

Dear Editors,

It is logical that many more billions are dispensed for medical research than research in any other university discipline, not only in Germany, but in every Country.

Demand is high, innovations are fast, and last but not least, future profits are very good.

In such a multi-billion dollar sector one must be very careful where funds go.

Even minimal research fraud would mean significant loss of money.

Research Institutions and Universities that have had corruption, fraud and plagiarism issues in the past must no longer receive any State or European funds, until independent international Committees decide it is safe and cost-effective to finance research there.

For example, here in Greece, many researchers, academics and even rectors, in one of Athens’ bigger and most prestigious Universities have been using, for many years, research accounts to buy villas with luxury marble sanitary ware and Jacuzzi spa sets, even fancy Ferrari sports cars! [1][2]

They have also been charging University research accounts for tens of thousands of cafeteria lunches, for many years! [2]

It took 20 years of investigations and court procedures to finally arrest and jail these “researchers”! [3][4]

The court ordered the seizure of property owned by those embezzlers, including an old Ferrari, but all the rest of the research money they have been daily spending is permanently lost, including donations from the Prime Minister himself! [1][2]

Unfortunately, research in Greece still has no strategy, no formal standards, no evaluation procedures, no transparency, no evaluation of research staff, no ranking body, but instead heavy bureaucracy pervades. [6][5]

So, one can never be certain that these appalling phenomena are not in progress in other Greek Universities and Research Institutions.

European donors and Research Institutions should be advised not to finance projects in any Greek University until proper efficiency, transparency, evaluation and ranking criteria are established by independent international Committees.

References

[1] http://www.athensnews.gr/old_issue/13100/12252?action=print

[2] http://www.athensnews.gr/old_issue/13238/16228

[3] http://newpost.gr/post/136468/Ex-Panteion-staff-jailed/

[4] http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_25/06/2012_448912

[5] Greek academia is plagued by inbreeding, nepotism, conflicts of interest, partisan politics, Professor Synolakis letter to Nature:

http://www.nature.com/news/2009/091105/full/news.2009.1042.html

[6] Stavros Saripanidis’ Rapid Response in:

http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d7284?tab=responses

Competing interests: Dr Stavros Saripanidis is a diligent taxpayer who has been financing Greek public Universities for years. He is outraged to see such extreme and embarrassing embezzlements.

03 July 2012
Stavros Saripanidis
Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Private Surgery
Thessaloniki, Greece
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