University of Waterloo chemical engineering professor Zhongwei Chen is tied up in accusations surrounding the legitimacy of his Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grant.

Chen has filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against business partner Allen Sun, claiming that he has been publicly defamed with this accusation.

Chen was previously working with Sun to develop rechargeable batteries before their falling out.

The two were co-owners of Newtech Power, and Sun’s company, Sun Solar, had also invested $78,000 into the project.

This project has also received the Staecie Memorial Fellowship grant which is valued at $250,000.

Sun accused Chen of forging his signature on the NSERC application in order to change the name of the company listed that was invested in the project.

It is typical for NSERC applicants to be partnered with a firm, but Chen’s involvement in Newtech is a conflict of interest that is against NSERC’s code of funding.

Chen application was successful and was awarded $480,000 from NSERC in August 2016.

In response to this accusation, at Chen’s request the University of Waterloo reimbursed Sun’s $78,000 as well as returned the money from the grant to the government.

After the university conducted its own internal investigation, they reported no evidence of wrongdoing and submitted a report to the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research.

The report is still under review at this time.

The Record has cited this claim stating that it included, “Sun’s malicious, high-handed and arrogant conduct also warrants an award of punitive or exemplary damages to ensure Sun is appropriately punished for his conduct and deterred from such conduct in the future.”

The RCMP and the Waterloo Regional Police reviewed Sun’s claims. 

Sun’s company has invested millions of dollars into Chen’s research in the past.

According to The Record, the two are still working on a different project which involves silicon batteries in electric cars, which further complicates the situation.

Photo by Jasmine Grannum

 

Previously, this article stated that “Chen was previously working with Sun to develop rechargeable batteries for military use before their falling out.” Imprint would like to retract this statement, as the University of Waterloo has no record or proof of this claim. Furthermore, the article stated that “The RCMP and the Waterloo Regional Police arealso involved in the investigation of Sun’s claims, and the case is still under review.” Imprint would like to retract this statement as well. According to The Record, the RCMP and the Waterloo Regional Police reviewed the case. They are not, however, actively involved in the case. Finally, it was stated that “Sun has invested millions of dollars into Chen’s research in the past.” Imprint would like to correct this statement to reflect that it was not Sun but rather, Sun’s company, which invested millions into Chen’s research.

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