UMC Utrecht also victim of company accused of fraud with EU research grants
The University Medical Center Utrecht also seems to have fallen victim to the research company Percuros BV, accused of fraud with European research subsidies at the LUMC in Leiden. UMC Utrecht launched an internal investigation into a project in which Percuros is involved, Omroep West reports.
The European Commission recently ordered LUMC to stop seven research projects after European investigators discovered potential fraud by researchers from Percuros. Percuros researchers submitted timesheets for research hours that they couldn’t demonstrate they actually did. The researchers didn’t even have access passes or computer logins at the LUMC.
UMC Utrecht launched its own investigation into Percuros after the company tried to change the conditions of their cooperation on the Carthago project, which started in September 2020. The investigation revealed that the place where two Percuros researchers worked was inconsistent with the agreements, which is important for the grant. UMC Utrecht reported its findings to the European Commission and ended the collaboration with Percuros.
A spokesperson for UMC Utrecht told Omroep West that the European Commission didn’t launch its own investigation because the hospital discovered the irregularities and reported them. That was not the case with LUMC, who submitted the dodgy timesheets without checking them.
UMC Utrecht is still investigating whether the irregularities it found were actually fraud or just a mistake.
The European Commission warned other hospitals and universities about Percuros, and several institutions in the Netherlands are investigating their collaboration with the company. Investigations are ongoing at TU Delft, Maastricht University, the University of Twente, and the University of Amsterdam. Erasmus MC told the broadcaster that it completed its investigation and found no irregularities.
The research company Percuros was deregistered from the Chamber of Commerce on June 20, according to Omroep West.