Research at the Centre for Bionics and Pain Research is suspended and deficiencies are reported to regulatory authorities

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Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital have agreed to discontinue the work of the Centre for Bionics and Pain Research (CBPR), a joint research platform. The reason for this is shortcomings in the operations, which are now being reported to supervisory authorities.

It is the Ethics and Misconduct Committee (EOK) at Chalmers University of Technology that has reviewed the scientific work within CBPR. The assessment of the internal investigation is that there are shortcomings in the operations.

EOK began its investigation on 20 March 2024 after information emerged about, among other things, deviations from good research practice. The internal investigation shows, among other things, that:

  • research carried out with insufficient permits
  • research has not been adequately quality assured
  • sensitive personal data has not been handled in accordance with the legislation
  • legal agreements for the operations at CBPR have shortcomings.

Since the previous manager of CBPR left the business in the autumn of 2023, Petter Falkman, Professor and Head of Division at the Department of Electrical Engineering, is the line manager for the majority of employees at CBPR:

"We take what has come to light very seriously. It is very important that the information is investigated by the relevant authorities and that we find out if there are deviations from good research practice in ongoing research and the scientific studies that have already been conducted."

In addition to the principals' joint decision to suspend the activities of CBPR, Chalmers has, on the recommendation of EOK's internal investigation:

  • made a report to the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) due to inadequate handling of personal data within CBPR
  • initiated a notification of supervision to the Medical Products Agency in order for compliance with the regulatory framework to be investigated
  • initiated work to investigate, with the help of external experts, whether research at CBPR has been conducted in a dishonest manner since its inception.

CBPR was founded in 2020 as a multidisciplinary platform for research in medical technology and treatment methods to restore lost sensory and movement functions, in people who, for example, have amputated a body part or suffered nerve damage. The research also aims to relieve pain that may occur due to sensorimotor impairment.

The now completed internal investigation covers both ongoing and previous research studies within the framework of CBPR, including a publication in The New England Journal of Medicine that was reported to the Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct (Npof) by the presidents of Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg. The decision of Npof in 2023 was exculpatory.

Participants in completed and ongoing studies who have questions are welcome to contact Petter Falkman, Professor, Head of Division and Deputy Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Employees at Chalmers can find more information on the intranet.


Text updated 2024-07-04:
According to a decision by the President from 28th June 2024, the collaborative agreement regarding the Centre for Bionics & Pain Research (CBPR) is terminated in relation to the collaborating parties. The other parties are Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Region Västra Götaland and Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. The basic agreement states that the notice period is six months. Against this background, the agreement for Chalmers University of Technology AB expires on 2024-12-31.