The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) has launched an investigation into an alleged misappropriation of CHF218,000 ($235,517) from its prestigious Blue Brain Project.
An investigation carried out by the Swiss public television RTS has revealed that an administrative staff member of the Blue Brain Project (BBP) neuroscience research group has been suspended on suspicion of embezzlement.
The employee, who has not been named, had direct access to BBP payments made prior to 2015. The suspicious transactions were flagged by the finance manager of the Human Brain Project (HBP) in February of this year. EPFL immediately pressed charges and launched a full inquiry – now concluded - with forensic auditors. Further action is dependent upon a judge’s decision.
Often conflated, the BBP and HBP are two separate neuroscience research projects: the former was launched in 2005 at EPFL and is funded by the Swiss government, while the latter is an international European Commission Flagship Programme. EPFL spokesperson Madeleine von Holzen has confirmed that the fraud is restricted to the BBP, and that no European funds have been affected.