The PedSALi Project
Pedestrian safety using SALi Technology
This article is about "smart" car bumpers. They are filled with SALi, a compressible, elastic fluid.
They are soft for pedestrian impacts but stiffen up for impacts with other vehicles.
The aim of the PedSALi project was to build and test a prototype SALi filled bumper.
Manchester University received
government funding to do the basic experiments. The automotive division of Dow
Chemicals was contracted to build and test a full sized bumper.
To hide their failings, the University created false evidence to suggest that soft bumpers would not work.
A Formal Enquiry Panel then went on to create false secondary evidence to hide the original fraud. When this second level fraud was challenged, the University refused to examine the evidence.
The implications go way beyond pedestrian safety. The collusion of senior University management in the suppression of the truth about research fraud is an attack on science and an attack on freedom of expression within our democracy.
We tell the whole story.
Q. Why was the PedSALi research done so badly?
Bill Courtney invented the smart bumper concept in the 1980's. After
saving up for 10 years to fund his work, he carried out basic tests as
supervised research at Manchester University.
Dow estimated that Bill would earn about £30
million in royalties from car bumper sales in Europe by 2015. This would
rise to about £90 million if smart bumpers became mandatory in all
markets. He would also achieve international fame as a life saving
inventor. Bill’s research supervisor who led the PedSALi research at
Manchester University found these prospects very distressing and sabotaged
Q. Why did Manchester University take secondary action to hide the sabotage?
A. A clue can be found in the ambitious Manchester University strategic vision published at
"The University of Manchester aims to be among the top 25 research universities in the world by 2020."
Here is the vision, as stated on their web site.
comment: Cheating to a achieve a position in the top 25 league is wrong
We call for an open, externally led enquiry into what has been going on at Manchester University so that lessons can be learned.
For the last 350 years Britain has been a world leader in science. We cannot allow a tiny number of vain academics in our generation to destroy our heritage.
Notes for busy readers
Now, here is the case in detail.
How Britain almost made the world's roads safer
Motor vehicles have become far safer for occupants over the last century.
Unfortunately, reductions in pedestrian casualties have not kept pace.
In the 1990’s,
the European Commission tried to remedy this deficiency by drafting legislation
that would require all new cars to be fitted with soft, pedestrian friendly
Vehicle manufacturers were unhappy with this proposal, because soft bumpers would be less effective in low speed impacts with other vehicles and street furniture. And this in turn would cause insurance premiums to rise.
Creating a car bumper that would keep insurance costs down and protect pedestrians is not beyond human ingenuity. In fact Bill Courtney had invented the answer way back in 1986, but it had no commercial importance at the time.
By 1997 Bill recognised that the time for his SALi filled bumper had come because it met pending EU requirements for pedestrian friendly car bumpers while also keeping the car makers happy. That is, it could be a “smart bumper”; soft for pedestrian leg impacts, but stiff for other impacts.
His early research findings were described in several research journals and magazines during the following three years.
Figure 1. In 1997, an article was published in the engineering magazine Eureka. This gave the first public hint that a “smart” bumper was feasible. (Unfortunately it upset Bill's research supervisor, even though he tried to pacify him by changing the SALi brand name to "Manchester Material.")
Here is a short extract from the article:
Eureka, Engineering Materials and Design, December 997, pages 24-25.
It is important to note the use of the term “tough, flexible membrane” in this extract.
Six years later mischievous researchers at Manchester University would publish deceitful research using a weak elastic packaging membrane. They would then use their fraudulent test results to claim that Courtney’s invention was ineffective. ~ All Courtney’s years of work were destroyed in a single lie. But the real victims are probably the poor unfortunate pedestrians who continue to be hit by stiff car bumpers.
As you will see from the evidence, many more lies were told during the following years, but their primary purpose was to hide the blatant falsehood of the very first lie.
Manchester University has continued to bluff away the fraud until the present day. Most recently, it has wriggled out of a request from the research funding body (EPSRC) to investigate the fraud.
In 1999 an article in Auto Express magazine attracted the attention of the Automotive Division of Dow Chemicals.
In March 2000, the PedSALi consortium consisting of Dow Chemicals, Bill Courtney (under his trading name of Cheshire Innovation) and the University of Manchester won £250,000 of UK government funding to build and test a prototype bumper according to Bill’s designs.
How it works: a soft bumper for pedestrians
(If you have come straight to this web page a more basic discussion of SALi Technology is available on our "What is SALi Technology? page.)
The following sketch represents a horizontal cross section through a SALi filled car bumper during a lower leg impact.
You are looking down on the bumper.
The visco-elastic SALi fluid flows to the sides of the impact zone. This reduces the stresses on the leg by allowing it to travel the full front to back distance of the bumper before coming to a halt.
The viscous nature of SALi permanently absorbs some of the impact energy and slightly increases the bumper recovery time compared with a conventional foam filling. This reduces the secondary injuries caused by the pedestrian bouncing off the bumper.
Additional smart feature: A child’s leg has a smaller horizontal cross section than an adult leg, allowing the bumper to appear softer in accidents involving children.
Now we will explain how the same SALi filled bumper stiffens up for impacts with concrete pillars and other hard objects
Again, this is a plan view looking down on a cross section through the bumper during an impact.
Figure 3, non-pedestrian impact. The SALi cushions compressed by the concrete pillar act like a very stiff foam. [See Section 7 on our car suspension page for a detailed explanation of why SALi beads offer exceptional stiffness as they are compressed.]
Consequently the bumper is stiff for non-pedestrian impacts.
SALi filled bumpers offered car manufacturers two new selling points.
(i) Unlike conventional bumpers, a SALi filled bumper would recover after low speed crashes, helping to keep insurance costs down. (Foam bumpers can spring back rapidly for leg impacts, but are damaged by impacts with more massive objects.)
(ii) A SALi filled bumper would be stiffer and offer extra occupant/bodywork protection to vehicles in medium speed crashes.
It is important to note that Courtney’s early experiments demonstrated that car bumpers would only exhibit soft/stiff “smart” behaviour if the car bumper outer face deformed but did not stretch significantly during impact.
So, how come most people don’t know about soft bumpers?
The university research was mismanaged and
the EU legislation was abandoned.
(ii) There was an eighteen month gap between the PedSALi
project being approved and the University research starting.
Here is an extract from the end of project review. The chart shows the original work plan as submitted to the funding bodies. The comments in red show what actually happened.
The University was offered public funding to carry out two types of experiment:
(i) SALi core
characteristic work. The aim of this research was to obtain data
about the impact energy absorbing properties of different SALi
(ii) Impact tests on a basic design of SALi filled car bumper to check that Dow's computer simulations were giving the correct answers. An important feature of these tests was that the packaging for the SALi had to mimic the low stretch properties of the outer plastic cover that can be seen on any car bumper.
As for Courtney's small scale 1997 research described above; In order to demonstrate the "smart" features of PedSALi bumpers, two types of impact tests were required: (a) to simulate pedestrian lower leg impacts, and (b) to simulate bumper-to-bumper/ street furniture impacts.
But the following is what happened in reality:
(i) The core
characteristic research was so badly done that Dow was unable to use it.
work was an embarrassing nonsense that violated basic physics laws that
GCE A level physics students would understand.
This is why Dow was trapped at the beginning of its contribution to
(ii) Under protest from Dow and the SALi inventor
Courtney, the University researchers
carried out invalid bumper simulation tests using elastic packaging.
did not reflect the true properties of a car bumper during a pedestrian accident and
gave the research funding body a false impression that SALi filled bumpers were
(iii) The University researchers failed to carry out the bumper-to-bumper/ street furniture impact tests. This meant that the EU policy makers and the car manufacturers were deceived by the published PedSALi research [12, 13] because the unique feature of the PedSALi bumper, that it could solve the “conflict of stiffness” problem by being soft for pedestrian impacts but stiff for non-pedestrian impacts was never revealed.
[This "smart" feature demonstrated by Courtney's earlier work was the key to the PedSALi project receiving Engineering and Physical Science Research Council support. But even though the University researchers deceived the EU policy makers and car manufacturers by publishing fraudulent work and failing to do the bumper-to-bumper impact tests, the EPSRC paid for the work and the person in charge of the University research was promoted.]
Why did the EU abandon its legislation?
Would the smart bumper have worked?
(i)The published research was invalid and carried out under protest from Dow and the inventor, Bill Courtney. (ii) The false research was published in breach of a confidentiality agreement signed with Dow and Courtney.
(iii) News of the misleading publications and the trips to America only reached Bill
a confidential tip off from within the University.
Why was the published research invalid?
many flaws in the published papers. Here are a few of them:
(iii) the impact tests were done using elastic packaging.
(iv) The impact tests did not include the vitally important bumper-to-bumper impact simulations that would have verified SALi's unique "smart" properties.
(v) The nonsense research paper referred to above falsely misquoted Courtney's own published research, claiming that SALi filled bumpers were unable to make a good recovery after an impact.
The hidden good research
(Bill was concerned that the research assistant was being intimidated. He requested that the police were called in. But Dr. Oyadiji and Professor Wright, the University recipients for the PedSALi research funding overruled him.)
A week before leaving, the long suffering research assistant
produced valid research results using low stretch “D” shaped packaging. This
good research, which showed a fivefold improvement in performance compared with
the elastic packaging results, was withheld
from publication. Consequently the
EPSRC and the automobile industry were
Unfortunately the researcher was unable to test the lighter, more efficient SALi formulations described in Section 3 of the "What is SALi?" page because his irritated line manager, Doctor Oyadiji, banned him from using the laboratory after two days of good work.
The good experiments were repeated at Cardiff University six years later. The original good results were confirmed and published. . The Cardiff experiments were only small scale but they did include research similar to the banned Manchester work. To lighten their SALi formulations the Cardiff workers had to use soft Expancel microspheres. These are not as efficient as the calcium carbonate coated Dualite microspheres that were available and should have been tested at Manchester.
Figure 4 The selective publication of misleading results suggested that a SALi filled car bumper would be unacceptable to the automobile industry. This fraudulent research "Proving" that the bumpers do not work “absolved” the academic researchers of any responsibility for the failure of the PedSALi project.
If you are a pedestrian, please click to see a copy of the document that may have put your life in danger.
In total, four misleading papers [11, 12, 13 and 14] were published in breach of the confidentiality clauses of the PedSALi collaboration agreement. Please see point 2 of “Checking our claims”, below, for advice on gaining access to these papers.
Here is a timeline showing how the PedSALi project let down Europe's pedestrians
Figure 5. The PedSALi project failed to deliver, but Manchester University received full funding.
(i) This project failure could have been avoided if an early warning to the Head of Engineering at Manchester University that the project was about to go "horribly wrong“ had been acted on. Click here to see the warning.
Fighting the fraud
Bill Courtney was appointed lead partner for the PedSALi project by the Department for Transport. He suspected financial fraud had been committed and that the EPSRC had been deceived. He requested copies of the relevant documents from the University.
But the University withheld financial information from the lead partner
Some months later he obtained the financial documents indirectly from the EPSRC.
What was the most blatant financial fraud?
For the record Bill Courtney was
also offered public funding to cooperate in these activities. Collusion with his
University colleagues would have allowed
him to pocket £10,000. He did not claim.
complained to the University after discovering the financial fraud. His evidence
of fraud was dismissed by the University on the grounds that the research was
acceptable to the EPSRC, so any discrepancies in the funding claims were also
acceptable under EPSRC rules.
wider consequences of
management level collusion with research and financial fraud
(i) A publicly recorded failure affecting Manchester's research rankings was avoided.
(ii) Any suspicion
that Manchester University researchers cannot be trusted was avoided.
(iii) This failure of moral courage gained increasing importance after two brilliant Manchester University researchers were quite rightly tipped to win the Nobel Prize for Physics, for their honest and highly original work on graphene.
But the Manchester University cover-up cannot be
condoned because crippling
and mortal injuries continue to blight pedestrian lives.
9/11, A dark day in history
History may record that in the long run, the
University mismanagement of the PedSALi project caused more pointless deaths than all of the terrorist
America, Madrid, Mumbai, Bali, London, Nairobi,
Paris and Tunisia.
If smart car bumpers had been introduced in 2005, then the financial savings for the Eurozone countries alone would probably have been sufficient to pay for the third Greek bailout.
Historians may also be tempted to draw comparisons between the PedSALi fiasco and “the worst industrial accident in history." This happened at Bhopal in India, in 1984. At the very least, 4,000 people died as a result of a chemical plant gas leak. This site is now owned by Dow Chemicals. (But in the PedSALi case, Dow was a victim, not a perpetrator. )
But the Bhopal victims did not die completely in vain because lessons were learned and the risk of similar industrial accidents reduced thereafter. In contrast, Manchester University aided by the UKRIO has hidden the research mischief and no lessons have been learned.
We cannot have one standard of ethics for industry, and another for academia.
Please check our claims
The University held a Formal Enquiry that was supposed to reveal
the truth. Instead it added a second layer of fraud that buried it deeper. Bill
responded by trying to shame members of Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation into speaking up for
truth within the University. He did this by sending all listed members a testimony
and inviting them to respond.
However, be warned, tactics may be used to foil your request. Please click for the evidence.
2Nullius in verba "Trust no one"
In order to gain a balanced picture, consider asking the University of Manchester for their version of events, including details of the unpublished PedSALi research and the June 2004 review quoted above.
In contrast to
PedSALi, workers at Cardiff University, operating on a shoestring budget have
produced impressive results.
What is the current
On the assumption that the Formal Enquiry Panel would deliver an honest report, Cardiff University applied for EPSRC research funding to do the PedSALi research correctly. Unfortunately, the enquiry process was not honest and the original fraudulent Manchester research was allowed to stand. This undermined the Cardiff case for funding and its EPSRC funding request was declined.
Research paper references
These references are a sub-set of those on our
What is Shock Absorbing Liquid (SALi) Technology?
1 Courtney, W. A. Preliminary investigations into the mechanical properties and potential applications of a novel shock absorbing liquid, MPhil Thesis, Manchester School of Engineering, University of Manchester (1998)1
3 Courtney W A and Oyadiji S O (2000). Characteristics and potential applications of a novel shock absorbing elastomeric composite for enhanced crashworthiness. International Journal of Crashworthiness 5:4 (2000) 469-490.
4 Huw Davies et. al., Cardiff University School of Engineering, Pedestrian Protection using a Shock Absorbing Liquid (SALi) based Bumper System, ESV Conference, Stuttgart, June 2009, Paper Number 09-002.
5 H. d. Teng, Q. Chen, Study on vibration isolation properties of solid and liquid mixture, Journal of Sound and Vibration, (2009) doi.10.1016/j.jsv.2009.04.036
11 S O. Oyadiji et. al., University of Manchester, Core property characterization for a shock absorbing composite, SAVIAC 75th Symposium, 17-22 October 2004. False research published in breach of agreement and under protest from Courtney.
12 S O. Oyadiji et. al., University of Manchester, Characteristics of deformable cylindrical beams filled with a shock absorbing composite, SAVIAC 75th Symposium, 17-22 October 2004. False research published in breach of agreement and under protest from Courtney.
13 G. Georgiades et. al., Impact response of flexible cylindrical tubes filled with a shock absorbing composite, University of Manchester, SPIE Conference 7-10 March 2005. False research published in breach of agreement and under protest from Courtney.
14 G. Georgiades et. al., University of Manchester, Characterization of the Core Properties of a Shock Absorbing Composite, Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology, ASME, October 2007, Vol. 129, pages 497-504. False research published in breach of agreement and under protest from Courtney.
18 W. A. Courtney and S. O. Oyadiji, University of Manchester, A Novel shock absorbing solid-liquid Composite with potential for automobile engineering applications, 1: Basic concepts and properties of SALi, Journal of Automotive Engineering. Courtney handed this paper to Oyadiji for final checking in July 2000, but it was not taken forward to publication.
19 W. A. Courtney and S. O. Oyadiji, University of Manchester, A Novel shock absorbing solid-liquid Composite with potential for automobile engineering applications, 2: Variable stiffness car bumpers, Journal of Automotive Engineering. Courtney handed this paper to Oyadiji for final checking in January 2002, but it was not taken forward to publication.
Courtney W, Oyadiji S O. A Novel Impact Absorbing Device Based on a Shock
Absorbing Liquid. Journal of Materials Processing Technology.
This is a ghost paper.
Ghost paper: The proof
Extract from Manchester University web site, 15 March 2007.
Two other suppressed papers, references 18 and 19 above were also a threat to the fraudulent SALi research. In 2002 Courtney complained about their suppression the head of the Mechanical Engineering Department. He requested a meeting to discuss this matter and other issues that threatened the success of the PedSALi project. But his request was ignored.
As listed in Section 6 of the "What is SALi?" page, further complaints about the suppression of these papers were made to senior University management at later dates. Inn 2009 the Formal Enquiry Panel had access to all these documents. But this suppression of papers is not referred to in their Report.
Suppression of papers 18 and 19 may have cost lives because their publication would have neutralized arguments from the car manufacturers that the conflict of stiffness problem could not be solved.
Q. What should Manchester University have done?
A. Instead of denying the research fraud and then burying it under successive layers of management fraud, it should have acted in the moral manner of Tilburg University in the Netherlands and practiced complete openness.
The outcome was was embarrassing for Tilburg University, but protected the wider reputation of Dutch science.
Manchester should follow the good Tilburg example.
We end this section on a more optimistic note for the future:
We quote a recent online article, “Pedestrian Test Dummies Put Driverless Cars to the Test".
Consumers have mixed opinions about driverless cars. Some are excited for the changes they’re supposed to bring, including the elimination of reckless driving and the benefit of convenience. Others are concerned that they will cause more accidents than they stop. The biggest controversy has been the risk of driverless cars hitting pedestrians.
Provided the fraudulent PedSALi research results and claims of poor performance are retracted and the smart bumper research is done correctly, SALi Technology could make driverless cars safer and reduce this fear.
Bill Courtney would be happy to work with a collaboration including Manchester University engineers, proved they are not tainted by the PedSALi fraud.
Manchester would be an excellent location for this work because a combination of graphene based SALi packaging and a graphene based outer bumper facia would offer the ideal combination of high strength and low weight. As a bonus, the superb thermal conduction properties of graphene would allow the front bumper to replace the conventional car radiator in vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine.
Proof that the bumpers required low stretch SALi packaging
1.1 The research proof
Courtney objected to the publication of papers  and  above because they described impacts on elastic packages filled with SALi.
His own research described in his M Phil thesis  and the suppressed papers  and  had demonstrated that elastic packages were ineffective and could not solve the conflict of stiffness problem.
1.2 The contractual agreement proof
The UK Department for Transport description of the PedSALi project appears at http://www.dft.gov.uk/rmd/project.asp?intProjectID=10434
A bitmapped copy of this page is reproduced below.
The key section relating to the importance of low stretch packaging has been highlighted.
DfT Research Database
Project: PEDestrian protection using Shock Absorbing LIquid technology (PEDSALI)
Last update: 13/10/2003 09:58:29
At the end of the project it is anticipated that, using Finite Element techniques, it will be possible to predict the performance characteristics of a SALi based shock-absorbing component. Physical testing be will used to confirm the predicted results and validate the model. The chosen materials will be assessed using FMEA techniques to ensure that any adverse effects, such as toxicity and corrosive properties, are recognised and evaluated.
This highly innovative project is researching a new composite, impact energy absorbing material that can in effect, automatically alter its stiffness, to cope with different types of impact. At present it is being evaluated with respect to the reduction of serious and fatal pedestrian casualties as the result of road accidents, in line with DTLR targets.
The patented material being investigated is a Shock Absorbing Liquid (SALi) which consists of lots of small resilient elastomeric capsules immersed in a matrix liquid and stored in a strong flexible package. Upon impact, all of the capsules are compressed by the matrix liquid and the front face of the package deforms to the shape of the applied load. The compressive stiffness of SALi filled packages increases as the area of applied load is increased. Consequently, a suitable sized package would be soft for a small child’s head impact, but stiff for an adult head impact. If SALi filled packages are integrated into car bumper systems, then the bumpers will be soft for lower leg impacts, but stiff for low speed bumper-to-bumper impacts. This will help to make vehicles safer for pedestrian accidents, while keeping vehicle repair costs low.
The unusual cushioning properties of SALi can be illustrated by comparing its impact absorbing performance with that of a block of elastomeric closed cell foam.
The project is investigating the three parameters that influence the physical characteristics of a SALi filled impact absorber: the matrix liquid, the size and nature of the elastomeric capsules and packaging design.
The matrix liquid acts as a lubricant to facilitate the movement of the capsules and to transmit the hydraulic pressure changes when a load is applied. Additionally the liquid provides viscous damping when the steady state condition is disturbed due to its shear viscosity and bulk viscosity properties.
The capsules can vary from expanded polystyrene beads to bubble packing. The size distribution of the capsules need to be optimised in order minimise the total weight of the impact absorber, without compromising on impact absorbing performance.
The packaging provides a flexible leak-proof envelope to contain the liquid and capsules but, importantly, it must not stretch significantly during load application. Also, the package must not burst open and eject its contents during a violent impact. The size and shape of the package will affect impact energy absorbing performance.
University of Manchester
Cost to the Department: £44,200.00
Actual start date: 01 March 2001
Expected completion date: 30 September 2004
Note for the web page reader:
The following comparison between the unpublished good research and the published bad research was sent to The Records Officer at the University of Manchester (7th March 2007). Duplicate copies were subsequently sent to The Research Integrity Office and The Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the same University.
You can obtain a copy of the letter from the University, under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. This letter includes references to the primary source, where the good research was written up for the PedSALi partners.
Figure 6. Originally
Figure 4 in Exhibit 11.
Figure 7. Originally Figure 5 in Exhibit
11 for the Formal Enquiry.
The published results are even more misleading because the good results were obtained using a smaller sample.
If results for similar sized samples had been compared, the magnitude of the deceit would have been even more obvious.
Originally Figure 6 in Exhibit 11 for the Formal Enquiry.
Figure 8. The first research assistant carried out tests on valid samples having a circumference of 220 mm. These results were not published.
The second research assistant carried out research using incorrectly packaged samples having a cross sectional circumference of 300 mm.
In spite of their smaller cross section, the correctly packaged devices still offer significantly better crash protection.
Extract from complaint letter to the University of Manchester ends
Questions and Answers
Q. Why did the EPSRC pay Manchester University for doing misleading research in spite of Bill Courtney's fraud warnings?
A. Using the The Freedom of Information (FoI) Act the reasons become clear.
(i) A fictional
Technical Review of the
research results by Dow Chemicals in 2004 was created by the University for the EPSRC.
Dow played no part in this deceit and were unaware
that the EPSRC had been fooled.
(ii) The EPSRC failed to pass Bill's fraud complaints on to their
referees who assessed the University research for payment.
(An admission of this failure
by the EPSRC is
presented in Section Four of this linked web page.)
(iii) This careless behaviour by the EPSRC might be explained by the
additional University trickery used to deceive them.
(iv) The University breached its FoI Act obligations by failing to release
the incriminating documents to Bill.
Q. After discovering the evidence that the EPSRC had been deceived, what did Bill Courtney do about this?
A. At about this time the University set
up an Institute for Science, Ethics and
Innovation, so Bill sent his evidence of fraud to the Institute. (Hard copy
letter plus supporting documents on a
A. The Enquiry employed some neat tricks that
allowed the Panel to dismiss all of Bill's fraud claims.
The Enquiry succeeded in further discrediting the reputation of SALi
Technology by suggesting
that SALi filled bumpers were a foolish invention that could not work.
A single stiffness material that meets all these different engineering needs is physically impossible. But recording that Bill believed this nonsense makes him look incompetent by University and EPSRC engineering standards.
Q. How did the Panel support this nonsensical statement about Bill's "beliefs"?
A. The Report claimed that
the results of the PedSALi and
CrashSALi projects were scrutinized by a "Technical Committee of 6 engineers, of more than 120 man-years of engineering experience" and that the Committee
found the evidence did not back up Courtney's "beliefs".
But this was a
GHOST COMMITTEE - it never existed
(i) One named member of the committee resigned from his
Manchester University post in despair and returned home to China two years before the
committee is supposed to have met. (His temporary Manchester home close
to the University was attacked on ten occasions and his PedSALi research
materials mysteriously disappeared, presumed stolen. But Dr. Oyadiji and
Professor Wright refused Bill's request for the police to be called in.)
We discuss this ghost committee again in Appendix 3.
Implications for British science
Q. Could the Panel have made an innocent mistake?
A. The Panel had no excuse for
undermining Bill's good name by making false claims about him.
You can check the evidence presented to the Panel for yourself. [Figures 2, 3 and the supporting evidence above. Also, see the Department for Transport description of SALi filled bumpers in Appendix 1 above.]
Q. Was this the only "mistake"?
A. The Formal Enquiry Report included a
number of demonstrably false statements that damaged Bill's professional name.
For example, it recorded false evidence that his dealings with the good UMIST
researchers referred to in Appendix 4 below had been unethical because
they breached his commercial confidentiality agreement with Manchester
Q. How was all this misinformation hidden?
Q. The format of the Report lacked academic rigour. It had no accessible indexing, referencing or footnotes. Consequently comparing statements recorded as "facts" with the primary source evidence was very difficult.
Q. What did Bill do next?
A. (i) The report was an
assembly of false facts about Bill's professional reputation and his
invention. So he complained to the Information Commission about the University
holding such a record. But the Commission declined to intervene because it had
limited funds and the issues were too complex.
A. At an early stage in the problems, Bill Courtney's MP Graham Brady sought an answer to this question. The then Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury, ruled that he was unable to intervene and that it was for Mr Courtney to resolve the problem himself. [The Sainsbury letter is reproduced as Appendix 6 below.]
There appears to be no mechanism for dealing with Universities that refuse to
address research fraud.
Q. What was the "game changer" that made Bill go public?
A. His health deteriorated over the years of his dispute with Manchester University. In particular, his eyes started hemorrhaging and the process was irreversible. He was registered as partially sighted and had had difficulty crossing busy roads. He was knocked down by a car and the pedestrian safety issue became personal.
You are challenged to check the facts
You can then contact Manchester University and the EPSRC to cros check Bill's claims. The Freedom of Information Act is a very powerful tool that will enable you to do this.
If you do go to the trouble of carrying out a rigorous investigation, you should compare the quality of the evidence you receive from both sides.
1 THE WHISTLEBLOWER'S SIDE
Bill Courtney’s submissions to the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation / Formal Enquiry Panel were supported by very detailed references, with a total of about 110 (one hundred and ten) documents being supplied in all.
2 THE UNIVERSITY SIDE
contrast, the Formal Enquiry Report findings have to be taken on blind trust.
YOUR DETECTIVE CHECKLIST
Omissions from the Report relating to research and financial fraud that you can check
(i) The PedSALi research was
fraudulent because, by using elastic packaging, a false impression that SALi
does not work work was created.
(ii) The Enquiry Panel was
presented with evidence that the University researchers had created a libelous
document implying that the false research was only done because Dow Chemicals
had demanded it. [Document 37.] The University sent
document 37 to the Engineering and Physical Science Research
Council and also the Department for Transport.
(iii) As explained at the beginning of this article, the PedSALi bumper offered a unique solution to the conflict of stiffness problem. It was a "smart" bumper, being soft for pedestrian impacts and stiff for other potentially expensive bodywork damaging impacts. But the comparative PedSALi impact tests that should have verified this property were never done. Consequently the car makers argument that the conflict of stiffness problem could not be resolved remained in force. There is no reference to this key research omission in the Formal Enquiry Report.
(iv) Two trips were made to
America, to present the fraudulent research to the international research
community. [Papers 11 and 12 at Virginia Beach, USA and paper 13 in San Diego,
CrashSALi researchers used ineffective materials that breached the
publicly funded contract. Consequently, Bill Courtney, who held stewardship over
the funds wrote to the (then) University Vice Chancellor insisting on the work
being done correctly.
(vi) One of the great strengths
of science is (supposed to be) that fraudulent researchers are eventually found
out when other researchers do the work correctly. The Formal Enquiry Panel was
presented with evidence that good PedSALi and CrashSALi topic research had been
published by Cardiff  and Nanjing University  researchers.
Further evidence that you can check
Don't take Bill Courtney's word for it.
If you have a serious professional interest in fighting academic fraud you should go back to the primary source, obtaining your documents from Manchester University, using The Freedom of Information Act,
Here are some notes on key documents you should request.
Exhibit 37 is a copy of the
document that the University researchers sent to the public funding providers.
The section where they falsely blame Dow Chemicals for demanding the fraudulent
research is highlighted.
(ii) Exhibit 39 is an email from a Dow
representative after he discovers that one of the university researchers had
repeated the claim that Dow insisted on the fraudulent research being done.
(iii) Figure 6 in Document C1 reveals a “careless mistake” made by the academics in fooling the funding providers. This allowed the Dow representative to discover that he was falsely being accused of demanding bad research.
Q. How did the Formal Enquiry Report avoid discussing the evidence that Dow was falsely blamed for the fraudulent research?
A. By creating a new
layer of false evidence that made Courtney look stupid and unreliable by academic standards!.
An illustrative example (The ghost Technical Committee mentioned in Appendix 2.)
This is an extract from the Formal Enquiry Report, followed by an annotated version.
(i) The original
“Mr Courtney had promoted SAL1 technology as showing a stress/strain curve of an “Ideal Shock Absorbing Material” and stated that there were indications that SALi behaves like that. Prior to PedSALi and CrashSALi, no tests had been carried out using displacement sensors, so stress strain characteristics could not have been obtained. The results that were generated by the PedSALi and CrashSALi projects did not back up the Complainants beliefs about the ideal behaviour of SALi. The results were scrutinized by the Technical Committee of 6 engineers (Professor Jan Wright, Dr John Turner, Dr Eugenio Toccalino, Dr Xinqun Zhu, Dr George Georgiades and Dr Oyadiji) of more than 120 man-years of engineering experience.”
[Gleeson, Duck and Fernandez, Formal Enquiry Report, University of Manchester, January 2010.]
(ii) The annotated version
You should also note that the Report refers to "a stress/strain curve". This is false and misleading because SALi based impact absorbers present different shapes of stress/strain curves for different types of impact. Courtney would have been academically stupid to believe that a single curve was involved. A more serious criticism is that it contradicted his published [2, 3, 4] and unpublished [1,18, 19, 20] research.
In order to believe this section of the Report any reader familiar with the PedSALi project has to abandon logic and use doublethink.
The whole purpose of the
PedSALi project was to develop a
"smart" SALi filled car bumper that offered a soft
material type stress/strain curve for pedestrian leg impacts but a
stiff material type stress/strain curve for other impacts. Courtney’s
early research had shown this was possible [See the graphs near the top of this
Courtney's true beliefs about how SALi worked were supported by independent research evidence from Cardiff  and Nanjing  Universities. The Panel were sent copies of these papers, but failed to mention them in their report.
This censorship of good research adds yet another layer of deception to the panels report because they wrote,
"Prior to PedSALi and CrashSALi, no tests had been carried out using displacement sensors, so stress strain characteristics could not have been obtained. "
Yes this was strictly true, but its use to support doublethink was deception. Both the Cardiff University research  and the Nanjing University research  that the Panel ignored included tests using displacement sensors.
[For illustrative evidence see Figure 3 taken from reference 5 on our CrashSALi page.]
It is also worth noting that it would have been physically impossible for the fictional "Technical Committee" to have tested Mr Courtney's true belief that a SALi filled bumper offered different types of stiffness depending on the type of impact because the University research [12, 13] failed to include bumper-to-bumper impact simulation tests.
Quality control underpins trust in British science. We must not allow a Formal Enquiry Panel to lower our standards by getting away with creating false evidence to hide research fraud.
Refusal to face up to painful evidence about criminal activity
(Section 6.5), 19 and 44 provide proof
that the Formal Enquiry Panel was aware of Dr Zhu’s Manchester home being
attacked on ten occasions
Document C1 (Section 6.6), 7 and 19 provide proof that the University withheld information from Dow and Courtney that Dr Zhu wished to resign following the attacks on his home until his resignation had been accepted and he had booked his flight back to China.
If you use The Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy of The Formal Enquiry Report from the University, you should note that the Report contains no references to any of the following criminal law issues:
(i) The theft of Dr Zhu’s research materials from the University,
(iii) The ten attacks on Dr Zhu’s Manchester home,
(iv) Dow’s hard copy letter of complaint to the University that they had been kept in the dark about Dr Zhu’s crime victim problems and resignation until it was too late to help him. (Exhibit 7)
The related financial fraud
Q. Was the Formal Enquiry Panel presented with any hard evidence of financial fraud?
A. Bill Courtney presented three strands of argument to support his assertions of financial fraud:
(i) As discussed on this web page, the PedSALi research was fraudulent. Consequently, any claim for full expenses must also be fraudulent.
(ii) In breach of the terms of the collaboration agreement, two trips were made
to America to promote the fraudulent research findings. These trips to Virginia
Beach and San Diego, California were made at the British taxpayers expense.
(iii) Claims were made for (a) trips to Dow Chemicals UK Headquarters to present the
Manchester University research findings and (b) for hosting an event where the
findings would be presented to the European automobile industry. These were
supposed to be key milestones in the successful completion of the project.
Q. How did the Panel respond?
Their Report claims,
response to the testable evidence of financial fraud presented in Document A1
[Gleeson, Duck and Fernandez, Formal Enquiry Report, University of Manchester, January 2010.]
Here is an illustrative example of the tricks used in the Formal Enquiry Report to create a smokescreen around the financial fraud:
"An arbitration meeting was scheduled for 27 April 2004: this was cancelled because Mr Courtney refused to attend."
[Gleeson, Duck and Fernandez, Formal Enquiry Report, University of Manchester, January 2010.]
Other criminal deceptions
The British taxpayer funding for the PedSALi project came mainly from the EPSRC.
Q. What did the EPSRC learn from the Report about the theft of Dr Zhu's PedSALi research materials, the ten attacks on his home close to the University and the University's refusal to call in the police?
The EPSRC remained ignorant of the personal nature of the criminal damage
suffered by Zhu's family because the Formal Enquiry Report merely explains Dr
Zhu's resignation by referring to
The links between PedSALi and CrashSALi
Q. Why was the CrashSALi project launched at a time when PedSALi was already causing so many difficulties?
A. Manchester University had an excellent business arm, Manchester Innovation Ltd (MIL). MIL was extremely supportive to Bill Courtney and Dow. It was very frustrated at the massive delay in starting the PedSALi project (see the timeline above) but could do nothing to help because Dr “Tunde” Oyadiji was sitting on the EPSRC funds and nobody within the Engineering Department was prepared to challenge him.
MIL suggested that a second project (CrashSALi) with Courtney holding the purse strings might put pressure on Oyadiji and stimulate PedSALi progress. This was a last option for saving PedSALi, so Courtney readily agreed.
You can get an insight into this strategy from
an MIL email presented to the Enquiry as Document 5.
Unfortunately, as can be seen from
(4th Challenge), the strategy backfired in the chaos following the theft of research
materials, attacks on Dr Zhu’s home, and his subsequent resignation.
In spite of Courtney's recommendation in
Exhibit 14 that the key person from MIL be interviewed, the Panel
failed to do so.
The Formal Enquiry Report Conclusions & Recommendations
The Report ends,
Bill Courtney comments
There are many reasons why the Panel's conclusions are corrupt. Here are the main ones for fraud busters to investigate.
1 Courtney presented detailed evidence to the Panel that Dow was unable to
start its work on the PedSALi project because the Manchester University work was
invalid and worthless.
2 He presented detailed evidence to the Panel that the EPSRC and others had
been misled because the researchers only published fraudulent data relating to
ineffective elastic SALi packaging.
3 The CrashSALi
4 The investigation failed to meet two internationally recognised standards of justice:
4.1 Failure to reveal evidence
During and after the Enquiry, Courtney was kept completely ignorant of any of
the evidence submitted to the Enquiry by the University party.
4.2 Failure to use witness evidence in a balanced manner
witnesses not called
Valid testimony not cited
A biased witness was presented as
Courtney provided the Enquiry Panel with evidence that Dr Turner’s behaviour should have been investigated. However, Dr Turner is still recorded as an “independent” witness in their Report.
Other evidence that Dr Turner was not an "independent person"
The following annotated extract from the Manchester University web site provides evidence that you can check.
(Web page information last verified 9 October 2015)
Quotes from Dr Turner's letter introducing himself to Dow and Cheshire Innovation as the University approved "independent" third party. [Presented to the Enquiry as Exhibit 8.]
In reality, this meant that Dr Turner overruled Courtney's objections about bad research being tolerated.
The bad research came in three forms:
(A) The University researchers interpreted their results using muddled
thinking that contradicted the laws of physics. This meant that the results
looked superficially plausible but were meaningless and could not be used
If you are familiar with Newton's laws of motion and the laws of conservation of energy and momentum, you can check this hubris for yourself.
(ii) Please click to see one of Bill Courtney's written warnings that the University researchers were ignoring the laws of physics. This example has been selected because it was also copied to the EPSRC.
(B) The University researchers willfully used elastic packaging the rendered the SALi impact energy absorbing mechanism ineffective. As you can see from this linked web page, Dr Turner shifted the blame for the bad research on to Dow by falsely claiming that they insisted on the bad research being done.
(C) There was also bad research by omission because in spite of reminders from Courtney during Dr Turners time as an intermediary, the University researchers failed to carry bumper-to-bumper simulation tests that would confirm the PedSALi bumpers "smart" properties.
To read about the most serious case of intimidation Scroll down to “4th challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery”.
Summary of what you will find
The "referee" rules that he is right and Courtney has to accept it.
The UMIST research is not done and Dow is left with nothing but the physics defying Manchester research.
Courtney is concerned because Turner is blocking research that, even at this late stage, may save the PedSALi project. As explained in Document C1, this ruling will blossom into legal intimidation by the University solicitors. [CrashSALi page.]
Courtney protests to the University,
form of “compensation” is equivalent to the form of “protection” offered to
small businesses by criminal gangs."
Courtney also protests at the next meeting
with the funding bodies. See Footnote 8, towards
the end of Document C1
The Panel’s response
The Report records,
" In June 2003 Dr John Turner of the University of Manchester was appointed as an independent person to assist to resolve the difficulties between the University of Manchester and the industrial partners."
[Gleeson, Duck and Fernandez, Formal Enquiry Report, University of Manchester, January 2010.]
Q. Did Courtney attempt to get the Report retracted?
Yes, but he faced a problem; who should he
The Institute ducked the problem by passing his appeal on to the University
Research Governance Office.
Here is an extract.
But Bill's pride in his local University does not extend to tolerating fraud.
A final effort to fight fraud from inside Manchester University
Bill tried to embarrass members of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation into speaking up for truth within the University.
He did thus by sending all listed members a testimony
and inviting them to respond.
Q. Was Manchester University warned that comprehensive details of the Formal Enquiry fraud had been published online?
A. Yes. Please click to see the proof.
A4.1 How the chance to develop a SALi research hub was wasted
Research into SALi Technology has been done at six British Universities, in
China, the USA and Ireland.
Prior to amalgamation in 2004, the Victoria University of Manchester (VUMAN)
and the University of Manchester Institute for Science and Technology (UMIST)
were separate institutions.
The publicly funded research at VUMAN was fraudulent. (See above
and also the CrashSALi
Bill Courtney hoped that post amalgamation the good researchers would prevail and that this embryonic SALi research hub would expand.
To generate funding for the hub, he handed over commercial negotiating powers to VUMAN, and agreed to it to taking 50% of all future royalties.
Dow Chemicals estimated that the PedSALi project alone would bring about $(US) 1 million/ year to the new University.
What happened in reality
When Bill Courtney's MP asked for time to investigate the matter, the new University created a smokescreen by falsely pursuing Bill for debt recovery. (See CrashSALi page)
The good researchers and the honest Business Manager that Bill trusted with his intellectual property all left the new University. Bill wrote to the University Vice Chancellor urging him to contact them, to hear their side of the story, but his suggestion was not taken up.
The legal threats affected
Bill's health. He was treated for depression, became
partially sighted and he ran out of
funds. [For proof see Exhibits 9, 42 and
Minutes, PedSALi Formal Meeting 9, 27 June
SALi Technology is now being developed in China, but the Chinese have refused to cooperate with Bill or a British University.
A4.2 The sins
of the fathers: Graphene
Here is the key clause from the profit sharing agreement between Cheshire Innovation (Bill's trading name) and MIL, the University business arm.
Bill was locked into a legally
binding agreement that gave Manchester University the sole authority to
negotiate with industry on his behalf.
The Formal Enquiry Panel were given proof of this Agreement, but it is not referred to in their Report.
A letter from Lord Sainsbury to Graham Brady MP
1 Un-policed academic freedom encourages Meta-fraud
managers commit secondary or meta-fraud to hide research fraud the University system
has no “Higher Court” to correct it.
Q. Did Courtney make any attempt to find such a “Higher Court”?
Yes, he presented his evidence of meta-fraud
to the EPSRC, Universities UK,
The UK Research Integrity Office, The Royal Society,
The Campaign for Science and Engineering and the Council for the Defence of
2 Un-policed academic freedom damages science
Since its birth in ancient Greece, science has been our most successful human endeavour. This success is based on a unique set of quality control systems. The whole edifice of science will collapse if we abuse these systems to hide embarrassing research failures.
British science will be reduced to junk bond status if we abuse our science heritage.
If you have links to Manchester University or value science, don't just sit back and say "Oh
To paraphrase Edmund Burke,
If you have an academic interest in the links between Science, Technology and Democracy you may find the Manchester University course described on the following page of interest.