University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Penkowa hearing: Avoiding the P-word

Milena Penkowa is her name, but at the hearing it was only mentioned towards the end. Focus was on administration

The focus is on the future: New procedures, and trying to find out what the University still has to learn. This was the agenda at a hearing on the Milena Penkowa case, which focussed less on the drama of what has happened, and more on what the University has to avoid.

The brain scientist Penkowa has otherwise been the centre of attention for the last two years in a complex case of manipulation, nepotism and fraud that has rocked the University of Copenhagen and even the Danish government.

But not one of the University leaders sitting in the panel at the hearing focussed directly on the Penkowa affair. As university director Jørgen Honoré points out: »We carry out ongoing revisions just like every other company. The Penkowa affair has just speeded things up«

Wants new scientific culture

In the meantime, not yet forthcoming results from a major investigation by an international committee on the scientific proceedings of the Penkowa case has held things back. Prorector Thomas Bjørnholm explained that the report is still in the data collection phase.

We will have to wait till July 2012 to read the results, he explained to the audience of staff and students.

According to the management panel, the university is taking initiatives to prevent future Penkowa cases. It wants to change the ‘scientific culture’ of the University. As an example, from January 2012 all PhD students will have to pass an obligatory course on university ethics concerning scientific practice.

Read: Students to get complaints officer

Stay in the know about news and events happening in Copenhagen by signing up for the University Post’s weekly newsletter here.