Cleared dean resigns after Cardiff restructure

August 15, 2013

Paul Morgan, who was cleared of research misconduct earlier this year, has resigned as the dean and head of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, citing an inability to work under the university’s new college structure.

Cardiff vice-chancellor Colin Riordan organised the university’s schools into three colleges soon after taking up his position last September. The School of Medicine is now part of the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences.

In a letter to colleagues sent at the end of July – and seen by Times Higher Education – Professor Morgan said the reorganisation has “markedly altered the role and the independence” of his position.

“I have found it hard to adapt to these new structures and have finally decided that I cannot continue in the role as it is now constituted,” he wrote.

He declined to expand on his reasoning when contacted by THE. However, he categorically denied that his decision had anything to do with the misconduct investigation, which, earlier this year, cleared him of any wrongdoing but found that a former postdoctoral researcher in his lab, Rossen Donev, had falsified images in four papers.

The investigating panel’s report, published in April, said that although Dr Donev, who is now a lecturer at the University of Swansea, bore responsibility, Professor Morgan should have checked the original image files before the papers were submitted for publication.

A previous inquiry in 2011 found Dr Donev guilty of manipulating images in another paper, since retracted.

Professor Morgan, who is also a member of the Medical Research Council’s governing council, said in his letter that he had “sorely neglected” his research over “the last few years”.

However, he told THE that “although, like many academics with major managerial responsibilities, I have had to work hard to find time for my research, it has never been neglected.

“Indeed, the unfortunate events that led to the investigation preceded my time as dean.”

He added that stepping down as dean would “allow me to focus my energies on my research, rebuild my research group and expand my clinical interests. I look forward to it with enthusiasm.”

Professor Morgan’s early months as dean in 2009 were soured by revelations that the school wrongly told four students, who subsequently took up hospital posts, that they had passed all their exams.

But he said he was “pleased [to] leave the school in a better place, with much improved student experience and ever-growing research excellence”.

paul.jump@tsleducation.com

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