Can an Ethically-Challenged Scientist Attract Venture Capital?


So, here’s one to watch: Hwang Woo-suk, the stem-cell scientist at the heart of a recent research ethics & fraud scandal is looking to get back into the research biz: Hwang Woo-suk Wants to Resume Stem Cell Research

South Korea’s disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk has expressed hope in resuming his research, Hwang’s lawyer said.
“Hwang expressed the hope when he visited a ceremony marking the opening of a law firm Friday,” his lawyer Lee Geon-haeng said. Questioned about the scientist’s detailed plans for research, he briefly answered, “I cannot say because there is nothing specific.”

Once dubbed the “pride of Korea” for his landmark papers on stem cell technology, Hwang was dismissed from Seoul National University after experts and prosecutors confirmed the papers were based on manipulated data.

I doubt any sane public institution will have Hwang, despite his former superstar status. So that leaves industry as his only choice. So, will some daring/desperate venture capitalist jump at the chance? Is there a market for investment in the work of disgraced scientists? Who would trust him with a research budget? Who would risk being associated with the next scandal? Maybe Hwang would be better off making an appearance on Oprah, apologizing to the world, and then going on the speaker’s circuit, lecturing college students on the importance of ethics…

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