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Rector overruled experts and favoured Penkowa

Ralf Hemmingsen hand-picked official scientific opponents, and placed undue pressure on a research committee to ensure Milena Penkowa her doctorate in 2003-2004. This is according to new claims released Friday in the Danish section Universitetsavisen

Former Dean of Health Sciences and now Rector Ralf Hemmingsen went against the advice of professional experts, and favoured Milena Penkowa when her doctoral dissertation was rejected in 2003-2004.

This is according to sources who have spoken to the University Post’s Danish-language section Universitetsavisen.

In a case that widens everyday and appears to involve both top university administrators and even a government minister, the neuro-scientist Milena Penkowa stands accused of manipulating results, forging documents and scientific fraud.

See the article here, (in Danish)

Enraged by Dean’s involvement

The so-called Commitee for Research Strategy (CRS), Det Forskningsstrategiske Udvalg is the advisory body which evaluates applications for PhDs and recommends members for the commitees that assess doctoral dissertations.

When Milena Penkowa’s first doctoral dissertation was unanimously rejected by three professors, standard routine is for the CRS to check whether the professors’ evaluation was processed correctly. According to the former chairman of this commitee, Professor Elsebeth Lynge, the commitee found that the evaluation had, indeed, been a correct one.

Several members of the commitee were therefore »enraged« when the Dean Ralf Hemmingsen subsequently, without precedent, sent her doctoral dissertation on to a new evaluation by a Norwegian and a Swedish expert, Universitetsavisen writes.

Rector’s actions ‘unusual’

According to sources that prefer not to be named, but who are known by the Universitetsavisen, pressure was also applied by Ralf Hemmingsen to the CRS committee to specifically ensure that candidates for PhDs that Milena Penkowa advised, were not subsequently unfairly treated.

His intervention in this matter were seen at the time as surprising and unusual, committee members say.

The new allegations against Rector were released Friday.

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