Professor Mark Smyth. Source Brisbane Times. Fair Use, low resolution image to identify the subject.

$40 Million Government Scientist Referred to Queensland Corruption Commission

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A top Australian government funded cancer researcher has been referred to Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission over alleged scientific fraud.

Top scientist referred to corruption watchdog over alleged research misconduct

By Liam Mannix
November 23, 2021 — 3.04pm

One of Australia’s leading cancer scientists, who secured almost $40 million in taxpayer-funded research grants, has been referred to Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission by his institute over allegations of research misconduct.

The Brisbane-based QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute confirmed to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on Monday it had referred Mark Smyth, until recently the institute’s head of immunology in cancer, to the commission following an external investigation into complaints about his research conduct.

The external investigation, headed by retired Appeal Court judge Robert Gotterson, found Professor Smyth had seriously breached codes of responsible research, the institute said in a statement. The findings of the investigation were referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission, it said.

Professor Smyth is one of Australia’s foremost scientists and has received millions of dollars in government and commercial funding. The investigation is likely to have wide-ranging fallout across the research sector.

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As far as I know Professor Smyth has not been found guilty of the misconduct with which he is accused. Given the lack of detail, I suggest we all reserve judgment until we have more information. Professor Smyth might have done something really naughty, or he might be the victim of vicious academic political dirty tricks.

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Zig Zag Wanderer
November 23, 2021 6:03 pm

He should have entered Climate Scientology. He’d not be investigated, he’d get a Nobel Peace Prize!

November 23, 2021 6:20 pm

Maybe the Corruption Commission could also look into how the Nobel Prize is being abused with its recent Climate Model award …

November 23, 2021 7:09 pm

He began work with Shanghai-based EpimAb Biotherapeutics in 2017 on research in immunoediting from mice to humans which may give you some background.

Patrick MJD
November 23, 2021 7:35 pm

I thought it was only Liberal Govn’ts that were corrupt. Now it’s Labor Govn’ts too?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 23, 2021 8:07 pm

You have not been around politics in Australia very long?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Dennis
November 23, 2021 8:24 pm

Tongue-in-cheek comment. Have seen the Australian political pantomime since 2005.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 24, 2021 6:18 pm

In my 35 years here, I’ve only known consistent corruption by Labor … you get the odd LNP but it seems to be a hallmark of Labor politicians, maybe from their union days.

November 23, 2021 7:36 pm

“As far as I know Professor Smyth has not been found guilty of the misconduct” So why is it newsworthy?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 23, 2021 10:53 pm

Maybe he was caught reading some research articles about Ivermectin

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 24, 2021 5:50 am

Chicken feed compared with Fauci.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 24, 2021 6:19 pm

They should apply the same standards to the climate scientology bunch … particularly those denigrating the GBR !

November 23, 2021 8:53 pm

I can appreciate that there’s a possibility that Mark Smyth is being taken down by a rival of some sort.

It wouldn’t surprise me to find that anything goes when the grant money trough is being slopped. Maybe someone thinks Smyth is getting more than his fair share.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Mike Lowe
November 23, 2021 10:17 pm

There should be many more to follow, especially in the climatology field. How can any honest scientist back the ludicrous crusade against carbon dioxide?

John Larson
Reply to  Mike Lowe
November 24, 2021 5:39 am

Expertism. Scientists don’t often publicly question the “scientific consensus” in fields they are not experts in, from what I’ve observed, and almost never “punch up” even if they bear the relevant curriculum vitae to ostensibly qualify them to challenge whatever questionable dogma or practices they become aware of.

November 23, 2021 11:52 pm

O.P. link is to an on-line news source that says allegations are not disclosed and cites one source indicating concern is about “data manipulation”. Link itself had to correct itself that one stated published journal report was not actually retracted, but merely that journal report subsequently appended “a correction notice.”

This link is the same BrisbaneTimes which the PressCouncil censured in 2019 for not taking steps to avoid being misleading in an article about the CityCouncil chairman & it’s untimely remedial response. Click-bait gets views.

Last edited 1 year ago by gringojay
Geoffrey Williams
November 24, 2021 12:16 am

We are always been asked to contribute to cancer research.
Now we know where the money has been going . .

November 24, 2021 2:18 am

Man commits fraud, man is scientist, scientists commit fraud…?

That’s was this is saying, isn’t it?

Reply to  griff
November 24, 2021 3:40 am

now if hed been working for pfizer…it prob would be true

Reply to  griff
November 24, 2021 4:24 am

It’s not saying that at all, mate.

Scientists are people who, like every other person, allow their beliefs to influence their work – especially climate scientists apparently.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  griff
November 24, 2021 10:09 am

I think griff needs a remedial course in reading and comprehension.

Reply to  griff
November 24, 2021 12:04 pm

What it says to me is that man commits fraud in an apolitical field and it is called out, investigated, and no one takes sides. Man commits fraud in a quasi religious field like climate change and the the most likely person to lose their career is the whistleblower.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
November 24, 2021 12:17 pm

“Man commits fraud, man is scientist, scientists commit fraud?” Where are you going with that, Griffy? Are you implying that scientists are above such things, that no scientist has ever committed fraud? Are you implying that scientists are beyond such mundanities as laws and morals?

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  griff
November 24, 2021 2:56 pm

Scientist is accused of committing fraud to be more accurate. If the same light were shon on much of climate science a lot of CAGW advocates should need new vocations.

November 24, 2021 4:41 am
No new info, just previous 2006 retraction and correction – looks like an extremely difficult research area.

Do I see Australian coal sales to China all over this? Did someone get a memo? Maybe an AUKUS nuclear sub torpedo?

November 24, 2021 4:43 am

There is a serious problem of corruption in science. Given the rules of the game it’s almost guaranteed.

… the combination of perverse incentives and decreased funding increases pressures that can lead to unethical behavior. If a critical mass of scientists become untrustworthy, a tipping point is possible in which the scientific enterprise itself becomes inherently corrupt and public trust is lost, risking a new dark age with devastating consequences to humanity.


The problem in science mirrors a society wide collapse of values. We, in the west, killed God and that led to various ideologies taking the place of religion. That, in turn, led to Hitler, Mao, and Stalin and the horrors they led.

My hope is that people like Jordan Peterson and Iain McGilchrist can lead us back to sanity.

Reply to  commieBob
November 24, 2021 6:10 am

Whether or not you believe that the various religions are objectively true, religion served a useful social purpose. It helped keep people moral and honest. Yes I know there were lots and lots of abuses and wars. But on balance religion did more good than bad and it helped many people feel better.

Now we have a gigantic social experiment going on where people have discarded religion. The result is crime, corruption, lies, social disintegration, big government, and a return to primitive nature worship.

Regardless of whether you believe in God, religion played a practical purpose.

Reply to  Marty
November 26, 2021 3:10 am

And the sooner we get back to torturing raping and killing in the name of God the better I say!

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  commieBob
November 24, 2021 7:10 am

When governments award money for scientific research we find them picking winners and losers that may not correspond with the best and worst scientists. Perhaps more awards of smaller amounts to more scientists that are busy with research that appears to outsiders as mundane and not glamorous will be the best way forward. The history of research shows that the glamorous research generally gives the least value for money yet gets the most support.

Reply to  commieBob
November 24, 2021 7:13 am

It was Kant, the Omnipulverizer, that killed God, as great Poet Heinrich Heine showed in his ¨Religion and Philosophy in Germany¨. In 1834 he wrote what was coming from Kant’s Romantic movement would make the then recent French Terror look like a coffee shop, 100 years ahead.
Kant’s ¨spirit of the times¨ led straight to Hegel’s ¨spirit of the world – Napoleon¨ to Nietzsche’s ¨folks spirit¨ .
Kant’s wraith lurks today in all Uni halls under the floorboards, in dusty shelves.

Reply to  bonbon
November 24, 2021 9:48 am

Emmanuel Kant?

Was a real pissant 😁

Reply to  Mr.
November 26, 2021 3:11 am

Apparently he was also very rarely stable!

November 24, 2021 4:52 am

How quickly they forget Dr. Ridd. I hope this is not a retread….

November 24, 2021 5:49 am

Fancy that – a scientist in this day and age fudging raw data (a la NASA, BoMs, Universities).
Fancy that – a scientist in this day and age claiming that things had been clinically trialled when the have not been.
Fancy that – a a scientist in this day and age testing billions of people with a test which can not distinguish between Covid and the common flu’.
Fancy that!!!

Andy Pattullo
November 24, 2021 7:32 am

I agree with the premise innocent till proven guilty. As a physician and former researcher however, I will say that my experience of medically related research is dismal. I have seen academic incompetence and occasionally outright fraud first hand and as a consumer of the published literature I feel the public has been taken for a ride both through spending of their tax dollars and then being misinformed by poorly done or deliberately misleading publications. There is very little accountability and most of published academic literature is virtually useless. Modelling which isn’t really science if not grounded on real world observations, has become one of he cheapest and fastest ways to get funding, publications and fame without actually discovering anything real and impactful. Taxpayers and voters hwoujld be demanding massive change.

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
November 24, 2021 9:51 am

Wasn’t there a study that revealed something like 70% of published medical research could not pass replication?

Reply to  Mr.
November 24, 2021 2:46 pm

There was a popular press book called Rigor Mortis.

Drug companies scour the literature looking for research that can be turned into profitable products. When they find something, the first thing they do is try to reproduce the research. The book reports that two of those companies, Bayer and Amgen, could not reproduce as much as 90% of the papers whose research findings they tried to reproduce. In a disturbing number of cases, the original researchers could not even reproduce their own results.

For other fields of science, reproduction and replication aren’t routinely attempted. There’s no reason to think the published research findings in any other field of science are more reliable than biomedical research. For highly politicized fields, like climate science for instance, it is likely that the research findings are even less reliable.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Mr.
November 24, 2021 2:54 pm

John Ioannidis in the US has published a few key papers on this in PLOS. He did statistical analysis of the research designs for medical research and demonstrated that most papers fail the test of design.

Michael E McHenry
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
November 24, 2021 9:55 am

The PC phrase being used in the science journals is “The Crisis of Reproducibility” with regard to the fraud

November 24, 2021 8:33 am

But he’s an expert!

Smart Rock
November 24, 2021 12:40 pm

Not saying that Prof. Smyth was funded by Big Pharma, but if he was, they put a lot of pressure on researchers to get the results they want. When megabucks are at stake, scientific integrity is under attack.

Old Woman of the North
Reply to  Smart Rock
November 24, 2021 1:16 pm

QIMR was funded at the beginning by Clive Berghofer, a self-made millionaire property developer, who gave $5M.

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