University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Rector: No plans to resign over Penkowa case

Ralf Hemmingsen has no plans to step down. This is despite the furore over his role in the fraud cases involving brain researcher Milena Penkowa

University of Copenhagen rector Ralf Hemmingsen has no plans to resign from his post. This was made clear in a dramatic, heated televised interview on Danish TV station, DR1 Monday.

»I do not employ myself, but I have no plans to stop clearing up in this case, or to resign,« he stated in Monday’s ‘TV Avisen’(Television News, ed.).

His statement came in response to a direct question posed by the programme’s host, as to whether Hemmingsen would step down if Penkowa is convicted.

Other sources interviewed in the news item called for Hemmingsen’s resignation, if the accusations against Penkowa are proven to be true.

Failure of judgement

Both Niels Høiby, professor at the University of Copenhagen, Jens Zimmer Rasmussen, professor at the University of Southern Danmark og Søren Moestrup, professor at Aarhus University, made it clear that they expect the rector to step down if Milena Penkowa is convicted.

»If the things that have emerged are true, the rectors judgement may be called into question, and in that case, I do not feel that he can remain in his position,« said Niels Højby during the programme.

»If management has shown a failure of judgement in this kind of a case, then it may also have it in a number of other areas, and this will just not do,« Højby said.

See the news programme here (in Danish).

Based on false evidence

Ralf Hemmingsen defended his role in the case:

»You can always use hindsight, and if I had been able to guess that the papers were false, the case would have been rather different, but it is clear that we judged the case based on false documents,« he said, referring to the allegedly fraudulent documents provided to the university by Milena Penkowa, in support of her research.

Read more about the alleged falsified lab reports here.

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