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International Society for Industrial Process Tomography

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ISIPT Research Collaboration Funds 

ISIPT Research Collaboration funds allocated for Young Researcher Bursaries held in trust at University of Leeds (UoL) have been withheld in 2023, repeating similar action in 2016. 

The WCIPT series originated as a key action of the UK Virtual Centre for IPT (VCIPT), a joint research venture created and led by researchers at Universities of Leeds and Manchester and several industry partners.  The VCIPT was awarded major UK Foresight Challenge research project funds whose Phase-1 requirements included the formation of an enduring Strategic Global Scientific Research Intelligence Coordination and Dissemination action, which included WCIPT1(1999) and continued with WCIPT2(2001), WCIPT3(2003), WCIPT4(2005), and WCIPT5(2007) under Not for Profit (self-funding) terms, with surpluses used for Young Researcher discounted fees.  At WCIPT4 the international community supported the VCIPT proposal to continue from WCIPT6(2010) with an international base for WC actions as the ISIPT.  VCIPT also operated a major industrial collaboration gaining major research progress (with 12 major projects over its first 10years). External assessment of the VCIPT project noted the highest level of international research quality and  outputs.  Collaboration funds were held from 2000 in trust by UoL under agreed VCIPT terms that all funds and resources were solely controlled by the VCIPT Management Committee (VCIPT-MC), these included minor residual Not for Profit funds from WCIPT actions.  

The financial crisis period of 2008-2010 created uncertainty, but VCIPT/ISIPT actions continued. We later discovered that in 2010 the UoL Faculty of Engineering Finance Manager had transferred VCIPT research funds from its Research Account to a specific internal UoL School, whose finances was in danger of a deficit status, such that our funds acted to offset that possibility.  VCIPT-MC members believe this action was a clear misappropriation of VCIPT Research Funds. Transfers took place without any notificationwithout any consultation, and without authorisation by the VCIPT-MC which its members believe is a clear breach of its duty of care by UoL.

UoL academic staff complained, but were told that would have no effect and VCIPT/ISIPT funds would be fully available.  WCIPT7 (2013) went ahead as planned.  Despite these promises the School later descended into a deficit status and ISIPT research collaboration funds were frozen. VCIPT-MC colleagues supporting the ISIPT WCIPT8 event in Brazil had allocated funds for Young Researcher bursaries, but due to the School deficit were denied access to our research funds for several years, despite major complaints. Despite ample residual VCIPT/ISIPT funds for Young Researcher support, access was denied in 2016 (as it has been again in 2023).  Academic staff at UoL in 2016 were forced to personally guarantee WCIPT8 website development costs.  

Later in 2016 our industrial partners sent a joint letter of complaint to UoL and 8 academic partners at University of Manchester (UoM) sent a further joint letter of complaint; both requiring that the research funds should be restored to their Research status.  This had the minor effect that the funds were moved to the internal accounts of a different School, but a negative effect that as with internal School funds, forecasts for spending plans were required 9 months ahead.  

Emergency plans for reconfigured Virtual WCIPT10 were disrupted as actions to collect fees via UoL were loaded with unacceptable 500% profit charges, despite a ruling from the Faculty Dean that as a Research meeting no charges should be applied. (It is noteworthy that UoL has gained major finance support from IPT research, e.g. via inclusion in UK Research Excellence Framework Impact Cases, which result in direct financial support to UoL.)  The VCIPT-MC agreed to transfer funds to an HSBC Charitable Bank account, which collected all Not for Profit fee donations at zero charge.

These remarks describe events controlled by UoL Finance. We suggest that UoL academic colleagues will agree with our view that Research Funds should be reserved for that purpose and VCIPT/ISIPT funds should be transferred to the ISIPT to support its work.  

If you wish to add your name to our list of supporters to the request to UoL to release ISIPT funds for its intended Not for Profit Research Dissemination use please simply send an email titled “Support” to news@isipt.org.