Resentment and charges of misconduct and bias at the Delhi component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)

It is not so easy to judge if the charges of bias and misconduct at the New Delhi component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering (ICGEB) and Biotechnology are just because

  • some disgruntled junior researchers are envious about the much higher salaries of their seniors, or
  • it is because of resentment by mediocre scientists when their work is not considered of a quality and significance sufficient to earn them authorship of scientific papers, or
  • because senior scientists are exploiting junior post-doctoral researchers

The ICGEB is part of the United Nations System where of course officials tend to take care of their own.

But whatever the real reason a “scientific institution” which establishes and perpetuates  two classes of scientists where salary scales of the one are double that of the other seems a particularly ill thought-out scheme and – at best – just plain stupid. It not only invites resentment but also implies that the quality of the research done is judged by the salary paid to the researcher.

ICGEB-ND_Building

New Delhi Component of the ICGEB

The ICGEB is an international, nonprofit research organization. Established as a special project of UNIDO, it became fully autonomous in 1994 and now counts over 60 Member States. … With Components in Trieste, Italy, New Delhi, India and Cape Town, South Africa, the Centre forms an interactive network with Affiliated Centres in ICGEB Member States. The New Delhi component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering (ICGEB) and Biotechnology is dedicated to advanced research and training in molecular biology, infectious disease biology, and biotechnology.

The Calcutta Telegraph reports: 

Allegations of discrimination, academic misconduct and lack of transparency over dramatic differences in researchers’ salaries have tainted a 25-year-old international research centre here that is hailed for its excellence in science.

Indian and foreign scientists are trying to resolve what they say is a dual crisis gripping the New Delhi component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB): loss of foreign funding and discontent among researchers.

A panel of Indian scientists set up by the department of biotechnology is examining options to resolve the issue of future funding. ICGEB director-general Francisco Baralle from Italy is expected to meet department of biotechnology secretary Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan and the research institution’s staff here on April 30. ……

Twenty-four of the 30 senior scientists at the ICGEB, New Delhi, have asked Baralle to remove the Delhi director, Virander Chauhan, correspondence between the scientists and Baralle between September 2012 and February 2013 shows.

Also, a grievance committee report from within the ICGEB shows that two former researchers have complained that a senior scientist at the institution, Kanury Venkata Subba Rao, denied them authorship on a research paper.

Both Chauhan and Rao have denied any wrongdoing. ……. 

……. Some of the discontent appears to stem from differences in the salaries of scientists. The ICGEB has a two-tier pay structure — an international scale where a post-doctoral scientist could start at Rs 150,000 per month, paid in US dollars, and a national scale where a similarly qualified scientist would begin at about Rs 75,000 a month.

“The original idea at the ICGEB’s creation in 1988 was to draw the best from international faculty,” said a senior Indian scientist involved in the efforts to resolve the crisis.

“But all the 10 international-grade scientists’ positions there are now held by Indians. There seems to be discord now because sections of scientists feel there should not be huge salary differences between similarly performing and similarly qualified researchers.” ……

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One Response to “Resentment and charges of misconduct and bias at the Delhi component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)”

  1. GP Says:

    Reblogged this on misentopop.

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