Leiden hospital deputy chair stands down over grant fraud

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The deputy chairman of Leiden’s LUMC teaching hospital has stepped down temporarily following a report by news website Follow the Money which said he had failed to act when told about fraud with European research grants.

Pancras Hogendoorn “realises that this perception may be a hindrance to doing his job and be damaging to LUMC’s reputation, as long as it is not objectively refuted,” a spokesman for the board said.

Follow the Money and local broadcaster Omroep West base their claim on interviews with a number of former PhD researchers and an internal security report from 2019.

They concluded that Percuros BV, a company specialized in winning EU grants, had “deliberately committed fraud” when applying for money for several large research projects involving LUMC researchers.

Senior officials at the LUMC knew in 2019 that the company was suspected of fraud and the management board was aware of the situation in 2021, FTM said. One PhD student, Celine Johnson, had raised the issue directly with Hogendoorn in December 2021.

She had been told to work abroad for a time because under the terms of the subsidy she should not have been working full time in Leiden. She was also told to alter her LinkedIn profile, FTM reported.

However university officials told her there was “nothing they could do for her”. She eventually lost her job and reported her suspicions to the European Research Executive Agency (REA) which then began an investigation.

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