February 25, 2006

Hwang Bought Bioethics:
Paid $350,000 for Ethics Research

In what clearly amounts to a bribe and blackmail scheme using bioethics as the lure, Hwang Woo-suk turns out to have given presidential advisor for science and technology Park Ky-young $250,000 US to carry out research projects on social implications and research ethics.

He later gave her another $100,000 US, to study:

the ethical and industrial impact of bio-organs, as part of a project on producing bio-organs by using transgenic cloning technology and developing transplant technology. Park was appointed presidential aide the following year. The official said everything was above-board and she published several papers and took part in conferences while producing the ethics guidelines for bio-organs. Academics say it makes no sense to ask a botanist to study the ethics of BSE and cloning research.
Hwang's view of the utility of bioethics is under scrutiny at the moment in several of the investigations underway in South Korea. The case of Park is huge, and itself the focus of an investigation that tars Hwang and bioethics in an entirely different way. But however you slice it, the $350,000 ethics grant from Hwang is certainly the most expensive attempt on record to use ethics in the attempt to hide irresponsible science.

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