David Colquhoun writes in his blog of Stefan Grimm, a professor at Imperial College London who died in September. There is now an email circulating in Grimm’s name which speaks of his troubles with department administration:
In March ’14 I then received the ultimatum email below. 200,000 pounds research income every year is required. Very interesting. I was never informed about this before and cannot remember that this is part of my contract with the College.[…]
But the email below indicates otherwise. I got this after the student for whom I “have plans” received the official admission to the College as a PhD student. He waited so long to work in our group and I will never be able to tell him that this should now not happen. What these guys don’t know is that they destroy lives. Well, they certainly destroyed mine.
The cause of death is not apparent though it came ‘suddenly and unexpectedly’, we are given to learn. Nevertheless, if they had anything to do with it, it is painful to think a professor could be driven to the edge of life from funding pressures. Disturbingly, it means less harmful actions are likely far more common. Many bend, the uncompromising ones break.
When it comes to science one wonders how many labs, careers, and lives have been saved by little frauds and white lies.