Scandal forces out Irish science head

Chief science advisor pushed from the post over questions about where he got his doctorate

Stephen Pincock(

Ireland's first government science advisor, who has been in the post for little more than a year, was forced to leave the job last week in the face of repeated questions about whether he obtained his PhD from a "diploma mill."

Barry McSweeney, a biochemist, was appointed to the job of Chief Science Advisor in June 2004, fresh from running the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), where he managed 2500 staff across 7 institutes. He was also responsible for the EU's Marie Curie mobility program. Previously he had been director of BioResearch Ireland, and had broad industrial experience. He had a bachelor's degree from University College Cork, and a Masters degree from Trinity College Dublin.

But in early October it emerged that a PhD he acquired in 1992 was awarded by Pacific Western University (PWU) in Los Angeles, an institution that featured in a recent GAO investigation...

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