Stripped of chairholder position for Saudi affiliations

WUR professor Fogliano punished for ranking trick with Saudi Arabia.
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Text Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau/Dominique Vrouwenvelder

WUR has stripped Professor Vincenzo Fogliano of his professor’s chair for the duration of two years, effective immediately. He obtained research funds by falsely affiliating himself with a Saudi university on paper.

The internal investigation conducted by Wageningen University reveals that at least six highly cited Wageningen scientists were approached by Saudi universities. Rector Arthur Mol: ‘Only Professor Fogliano took the offer while employed by WUR.’

‘I am shocked and extremely disappointed’, says Mol. ‘Fogliano acted incorrectly and has damaged the integrity of Wageningen University & Research.’


Fogliano held a full-time position when he altered this primary affiliation between 2008 and 2020, Resource wrote earlier this month. The highly cited scientist acted as if the King Saud University was his primary employer, elevating the university on the international rankings.

Saudi universities benefit considerably if highly cited scientists alter their primary affiliation. These affiliations feed the scientific databases which determine the position of universities on international rankings. With the affiliation of highly cited scientists, these universities move up in the rankings.


Fogliano’s group received 146 thousand euros in exchange for his affiliation. The money was spent on a PhD in food sciences. The investigation did not uncover any indications that Fogliano personally accepted any money.

Fogliano is said to have been warned about transactions of this sort in 2018. He has now been reprimanded and will be discharged in the event of further transgressions. Although he has been stripped of his chairholder position for two years, he will remain a professor.

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