Posted November 03, 2019 05:00:17QUT Medical Research Department (MRD) has been criticised for “bullying” scientists for reporting the dangers of vaccines.
QUT President John Thynnen said the university was taking “immediate action” to “address the issue”.
The MRD was criticised by the Queensland Medical Association (QMA) for allegedly “bullies” researchers and publishing the results of studies on the safety of vaccines in the scientific journal Vaccine.
“This is a toxic culture that we are seeing at QUT, and the university has been working hard to eradicate that,” Mr Thynn said.
He said the MRD’s actions had been in line with university guidelines.
Mr Thynns comments come after the Queensland Health and Medical Research Commission (QHMC) issued a warning about the MRH department for its “bullish” reporting of research findings.
The QHMC said it would take “appropriate action” if any “research” was published “without appropriate authorisation”.
It also said the department was “not an appropriate venue” for reporting of findings from research.
However, Mr Thysnns was adamant the MRHD was “one of the most effective and respected” departments in the university.
Dr Sarah MacGregor, a lecturer in medicine and biophysics at Qut, told the ABC that the MRDH “is not only one of the best, but also one of our most effective departments”.
“There are plenty of areas where we don’t have the expertise or the skills, so we have to go in and do it ourselves,” she said.
“There’s a lot of research that goes into that, so it’s very important that we’re not complacent and we’re always looking for ways to improve.”
She said research at the MRDS was “highly motivated” and included “a good amount of scientists from the medical sciences”.
She noted that “every year in Queensland, the MRDM produces hundreds of papers on vaccine safety”.
Ms MacGregory said “every single one of those papers” were “well-researched”.
QTAC was “really proud” of the work of the MRDT, but said the organisation had concerns about its “toxic and hostile” culture.
Ms McMgGory said the QTACs “favourable assessment” of research into the safety and efficacy of vaccines was based on “the highest level of peer review” and the MRDRD “did not do a good job of responding to any of those issues”.
Dr MacGregors comments come a week after QUT Health released a letter from Dr MacGregorie, the head of the Queensland Department of Health, which recommended that the department “focus its efforts” on protecting the MRDDs ability to publish scientific reports.
It said “unfortunately” the MRDF did not “understand” the “critical role” of independent researchers.
On Wednesday, QUT announced that Dr Macgregorie would be replaced as chair of the QDOH.
Professor MacGregores “leadership” of a “highly-regarded” department that “undermines scientific progress” and “undermine[s] public confidence” in vaccines was “an affront to the scientific process” and would result in “damage to the reputation of the university”.
Professor Thynnes comments come just days after a former senior scientist from the MRDE was appointed by the QUT board to replace Dr MacGory as chair.
She has been “vigilant” and had “extensive experience” in “the field” and has “demonstrated the ability to effectively lead and guide the research activities of the department”.
Read more:QUT says it is “working closely” with QDH to “review the department’s activities” in relation to the MRDA