Accusations fly after big Gates grant

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Science  09 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6304, pp. 1081-1082
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6304.1081

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An independent panel commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to soon issue a report about 8-year-old allegations against two researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, José Villar and Stephen Kennedy. The duo won a $29 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in March 2008 to develop global standards to assess whether a fetus is on a healthy growth trajectory. But at the time, they were also participants in a WHO effort to do the same. Kennedy and Villa have been accused of using ideas developed in the WHO project in their competing grant proposal; some say they deliberately delayed their WHO work while they were courting the Gates Foundation. The University of Oxford has denied those allegations. WHO did not have a formal policy for dealing with alleged misconduct so far, but is now drafting one.