Document C1

Prior to submission as evidence for the Formal Enquiry, this document was copied

(i) To Professor Rod Coombs, Vice-President, Innovation and Economic Development, 7 March 2007
(ii) To the University Registrar 31 May 2007.

 

CHESHIRE INNOVATIONâ

17 Vale Road, Timperley, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 7TQ

Tel/Fax  0161 980 5191, Mobile: 07913561887

Web site www.cheshire-innovation.com

7th March 2007

Alan Carter, Records Manager
The University of Manchester Records Management Programme
Room G.29
John Owens Building
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PL

 

 

Summary of this letter: The writer objects to documents being withheld in response to a request for information under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.

Sixteen detailed challenges to the suppression of information are made.

Evidence is presented that a tiny number of personnel within the University are steering an innocent University along an unethical course of actions, in order to meet their private needs.

In particular, the reader’s attention is drawn to Challenge 15.

Contents

Page 2                   Background

Page 5                 The sixteen challenges

Page 26              Appendix 1: False research passing off as investigations into Cheshire Innovations SALi Technology

Page 34              Appendix Two: Evidence of hostility towards the development of SALi Technology

Page 39              Appendix Three: Key personnel involved

 

Dear Mr Carter,

 Thank you for your letter dated 28 November 2006, in response to my earlier request for information under the Freedom of Information Act. You and your colleagues have clearly used your best efforts in responding to my request. This is appreciated. What follows is in no way intended to be a criticism of personnel within the University Records Office.

 The second page of your cover letter includes the following paragraph,

The final sentence puts me in a difficult position. If I accept the limited collection of documents the University has agreed to release, an English court of Law may conclude that I also accept that the University has a legal right to pursue Bill Courtney, trading as Cheshire Innovation, for debt recovery at a future date.

As a sole trader, operating on limited financial resources, I cannot allow this threat to hang over my business. Consequently, I have no choice but to challenge the University’s decision to withhold the two documents. This will be done by providing evidence that the assumed right to pursue me for debt recovery is invalid.

One of the documents you have sent me, (Dr Rogers to the Small Business Service, 11 January 2005) generates new issues that probably go beyond the remit of your office. If this letter has to be passed on to another department, please supply me with brief details so that I can keep track of its progress. Thank you.

 In what follows, I will describe myself in the third person, as Bill Courtney, or as Cheshire Innovation (CI), using the best option to aid the flow of the narrative.

 

Background: In 1986, while working as a physics teacher, Bill Courtney discovered a new method of cushioning the human body from violent impact injuries. The new type of cushion had two parts; (i) a stout, flexible, high tensile stiffness bag which did not stretch significantly under impact (ii) a filling, consisting of a mixture of compressible capsules (e.g., expanded polystyrene beads) and a viscous fluid (e.g. Vaseline). This cushioning principle was later promoted as Shock Absorbing Liquid (SALi) Technology.

Early experiments conducted using a home made test rig (subsequently featured on the BBC 2 Money Programme, Sky Discovery Channel, Cable TV and Granada News) demonstrated that SALi Technology offered significant benefits compared with existing crash protection devices.

In order for manufacturers to incorporate SALi Technology in their products, it was clear that three key questions needed to be answered:

1                     What is the optimum geometry and size for the high tensile stiffness bag for a given application?

2                     What are the best formulations of capsules and fluid to meet different impact injury scenarios?

3                     What are the detailed stress-stain relationships between the capsules and fluid inside the deforming bag at each stage of an impact?  As engineers do most of their initial crash protection design work as computer simulations, this third set of information is vital to manufacturers to minimise design costs.

From 1986 onwards Bill Courtney lived frugally which enabled him to build up a capital reserve. By 1996 this allowed him to give up teaching and work full time developing SALi Technology. He traded under the name Cheshire Innovation (CI).

Work with the Victoria University of Manchester (VUM)

After being introduced by the Small Business Service/Business Link, Bill collaborated with VUM as a business partner. He also became a member of the University by studying as a mature MPhil student. Later he worked with VUM as a Research Fellow.

Work with UMIST

Media coverage of SALi Technology attracted the interest of UMIST.

In response to an invitation, Bill worked as a guest lecturer on the Impact and Explosives (IMPEX) Masters Degree course. He helped to develop SALi based research projects for IMPEX students, organised a sponsorship meeting with the senior management of UMBRO Sportswear and worked with Professor Steve Reid and Dr. John Harrigan on an EPSRC funding bid.

Work with VUMAN/MIL

The University of Manchester records will show that following a first meeting, on 24 October 1996, Bill was actively co-operating with VUMAN, the then commercial arm of VUM. So that from 24 October 1996 a business relationship existed between CI and VUM.

By March 2000 one outcome of this business relationship was that Foresight Vehicle/EPSRC funding had been approved for the PedSALi Project. This was a collaboration between the Auto Division of Dow Chemicals, VUM and CI. The principle aim of this project was to develop a soft, pedestrian friendly car bumper. This would meet the then pending requirements for a gentle bumper that would reduce pedestrian fatalities and crippling injuries in vehicle accidents.

Twenty one months after winning the award, it was becoming clear to MIL (the re-named business arm of VUM), Dow and CI, that the University research was drifting off-course. The problem was the Principle Investigator (PI) for the University research, Dr. Oyadiji, was very relaxed about VUM’s contribution to the project.

The principle management failures identified by Dow and CI were: (i) Failure to keep to agreed timetables (ii) Unnecessary secrecy (iii) Failure to use EPSRC funding appropriately to enable the PedSALi Project to meet its aims.

The finance based problems that had accumulated by early December 2001 are summarised as follows:

(i)                   The research assistant appointed by VUM, Dr Xinquin Zhu, was a native Chinese with poor spoken English skills. This was of particular concern to Dow because their chief engineer for the project was Italian and only spoke English as a second language. Verbal communication errors were feared. Prior to confirming the appointment, the PI reassured Dow that the language problem would be overcome by VUM paying for English lessons for Dr Zhu.
CI arranged for these lessons to take place at Fielden Park College, Manchester, at a cost of £1,000. But the PI reneged on the agreement. Consequently, Dr Zhu never learned to speak adequate English. So, when it came to technical matters, Dow and CI never really understood what he was doing or trying to say. Dr. Oyadiji had to be relied upon to speak on behalf of Dr Zhu.

(ii)                 For the VUM research to generate valid data for Dow, a steel bar, representing a human leg, had to be dropped from a height of approximately 10 metres on to the sample being tested. As VUM did not possess a suitable drop rig, one had to be built. This hampered progress. UMIST possessed two drop rigs that could do the job. However, the PI refused to pay for UMIST technician time supporting this drop rig work. 

(iii)                CI discovered that the PI had made “penny-wise” cost savings by ordering materials for a drop rig that was only 2.5 metres high, i.e. one quarter of the required height. This could not meet either the Dow or EU test requirements.[1]

(iv)               A personal computer had not been provided for Dr Zhu.  Consequently, his working efficiency was reduced because he had to use the student computer clusters. This also demoralised him because it reduced his status.

(v)                 The PI agreed to fall in with standard Dow project management practice by using Microsoft Project software to record progress and share this with Dow. But the PI was reluctant to purchase this software. (£38 from Manchester Computing).Consequently, when Dow HQ in Detroit called for project updates, their European colleagues were unable to respond.

(vi)               Please see Appendix 3 of Exhibit 19 for further details of the financial mismanagement problems.

Dow was particularly concerned about timetable slippage which resulted in their window for commercial opportunity closing. This was because the automobile manufacturers had started lobbying the EU Commission, claiming that the draft EI requirements for a pedestrian friendly bumper could not be made using existing technology.[2]

 On 11 December 2001 a meeting was held, at the Manchester Incubator Building, to discuss the PedSALi slippage problems. Two people were present: Dr. Michelle Cooper and CI. Dr Cooper represented  MIL/the University and CI was  the lead partner for the PedSALi Project.

 Dr Cooper advised that for internal reasons the Principle Investigator for the PedSALi Project could not be replaced. MIL suggested that the next best option was to employ a second research assistant. 75% of the funding would be supplied by a DTI SMART award and the balance would be provided by CI (DTI rules limited the SMART contribution to 75% of funding).

Essentially, CI was the proxy applicant, acting on behalf of the VUM/CI partnership, but to comply with Smart rules, CI also had to make a financial contribution.

Essentially, the rescue plan had four aims:

(i)                   Short term: research support. Bring in an extra post-doctorate researcher to help loosen the grip of poor management.

(ii)                 Medium term: research support. Expand the scope of SALi project opportunities to bring in further researchers. Do this by carrying out a series of mini-projects, each to form the theme for a separate research paper. As SALi is radically different in behaviour to existing crash protection materials, generating new research topics is relatively easy.

(iii)                Medium term: management improvement. Build on Professor Reid’s pioneering work, at UMIST, into energy absorbing tubes, by investigating the benefits of using a SALi filling.

(iv)               Long term: income generation. If we were successful in achieving aim three, the outcome could deliver a revolution in crash protection for road and rail transport. Expensive international patent applications would need to be filed to protect the intellectual property.

In order to prevent further mismanagement of research funds, it was proposed that CI should have control of the purse strings for this second project, with VUM being employed as a sub-contractor. The ultimately disastrous consequences of this decision (the University pursuing CI for debt recovery) could not be foreseen at the time.

This proposal was accepted by CI because, although funds would have to be withdrawn from Bill Courtney’s retirement savings, it appeared to be the only realistic way of salvaging the PedSALi Project. The proposal eventually became a reality as the CrashSALi Project.

MIL and CI were thinking long term. In addition to propping up the PedSALi Project, the CrashSALi research was designed to open up new commercial/EPSRC funding bid opportunities by building on pioneering UMIST work into crash mitigation using metal canister packages.

Professor Reid, UMIST, agreed to advise on the CrashSALi research and help write academic papers at the end of the project.

UMIST also possessed two sample compressing Instron machines that would have been useful for speeding up the PedSALi work. VUM had one of these machines but it was broken and needed repairing at an estimated cost of £10,000. To date, December 2001, rather than work with UMIST, the VUM engineers preferred to struggle on without an Instron machine.

MIL was actively involved in the CrashSALi Project marketing the new thinking to industry. Exhibit 1 is evidence of MIL’s input. They did some excellent work but were let down by a lack of supportive research.

Exhibit 5 is a copy of the email from MIL when we heard that the CrashSALi funding bid had succeeded.

NB. CI recognises that MIL made the CrashSALi proposal in good faith and believed it to be in the long term best interest of CI and VUM. No criticism of MIL for making this proposal is implied in this or any other correspondence with the University.

 

Fig. 1. The CrashSALi Project was conceived to try and rejuvenate the PedSALi Project, before the window of commercial opportunity closed for Dow. Unfortunately, the problems were far too deep rooted for the rescue plan to have any effect.

Work with Cranfield University, RMCS, leading to benefits for VUM and UMIST

CI had good contacts with Cranfield University Royal Military College of Science.

Research carried out at the Shrivenham site of Cranfield University demonstrated that CI’s SALi Technology has good blast mitigation properties when tested against plastic explosives.[3] The importance of these properties became obvious after the 9/11 attacks on America. Following the attacks, the American government sent out an international appeal for help in protecting the homeland from terrorists.
In his role as a member of VUM, Bill Courtney worked with Professor Horsfall et al, at Cranfield drawing up several joint Cranfield/VUM research proposals for the Americans. (Exhibit 21) The patent applications that Bill wrote as part of this work now form part of the joint University of Manchester and Cranfield University intellectual property. It is believed that UMIP retain copies of these documents.

Unfortunately, these research opportunities, which could have reduced the terrorist threat, ground to a halt as a result of the incidents described below.

Bill Courtney also introduced Professor Horsfall to colleagues at UMIST and Professor Horsfall later became a guest lecturer on the IMPEX course.

1st challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 The documents supplied under the FOI Act suggest that Eversheds was presented with a misleading case against CI that did not reflect the true business relationship between the University and CI.

Eversheds seem to have been acting under the impression that the financial problems related to a standard dispute between the University, as a research service supplier, and CI, as a customer of the University.

This impression, if made, was misleading. The true relationship between CI and the University was that of a profit sharing partnership, with both parties contributing resources and both parties earning income, on a 50:50 royalty sharing basis if the partnership was successful.

It also appears that Eversheds was not made aware that MIL had proposed the partially DTI SMART funded CrashSALi Project to CI, with CI being the proxy applicant, on behalf of the partnership..

 A number of exhibits will be provided to demonstrate the profit sharing partnership nature of the relationship:

Exhibit 1 is a collection of promotional leaflets produced by MIL, the commercial arm of VUM. Copies of these leaflets were sent out to relevant businesses and clearly demonstrate that MIL was actively working with CI promoting Shock Absorbing Liquid (SALi) Technology.[4]

Exhibit 2 is a copy of an Agreement signed between CI and VUM. The agreement used a standard intellectual property licensing agreement as its template, but additional clauses were added which covered royalty sharing. It is clear from the wording of the Agreement that a true and equal commercial partnership existed between the parties, because both parties contributed intellectual property and both stood to profit equally from its exploitation. The Agreement was unusual, in that W. A. Courtney had two legal identities within it: as a member of VUM he was the first author for its intellectual property documents, and as the proprietor of CI, he owned the core intellectual property, filed before being introduced to VUM.

The agreement had legal force until 26 November 2006.

CI trusted VUM to use the assets CI brought to the partnership, for the five year period of the agreement, by allowing MIL exclusive royalty negotiating rights on behalf of CI. Legally, CI was powerless to exploit SALi Technology without the agreement of the University until late 2006. (This binding clause, 3.3, is highlighted in the exhibit.)

The disastrous commercial consequences of this clause for CI were not anticipated when the agreement was drawn up. It was not foreseen that certain parties within the University would manipulate the partnership to meet their own needs.

Exhibit 3 is a copy of a letter from Professor Wood, Head of the School of Engineering. It acknowledges that the CrashSALi sub-contract should be costed at a special rate because of the long term benefits it would deliver to the VUM.

Exhibit 4 provides evidence that Bill Courtney holds the post of Honorary Research Fellow of the University until 31st May 2007.

Exhibit 5 is a copy of an email from Dr Michelle Cooper at MIL. The wording makes it clear that “we” ,i.e. the partnership have won the funding and that the University has consequent obligations.

Dr Cooper writes, It would be good when we get the money to sit down with Tunde and try and make it blatantly clear what the University’s obligations in this project are!”

 The determination of the University in using the debt recovery services of Eversheds is in striking contrast to its cavalier attitude of ignoring the confidentiality clauses of the PedSALi Collaboration Agreement. The University has ignored all letters from CI, for example Exhibit 10, protesting that commercial confidentiality has been breached by the publication of papers relating to the PedSALi Project without CI being informed. There seems to be one law for those who can afford solicitors and another for those who cannot.

The challenge

(i)                        A profit sharing partnership was established in law by a signed agreement between CI and VUM. CI was locked inside this agreement until 27 November 2006. However, when it suited its purposes, the University treated CI as a contract breaking client, rather than as a risk sharing business partner. The partnership agreement pre-dates the use of Eversheds debt recovery services, so takes priority in law. Eversheds services were used with undue haste, with the University refusing Graham Brady MP time to help resolve the partnership problems amicably.

(ii)                      In contrast, the University has ignored its own legal obligations to CI by publishing papers relating to the PedSALi Project, in breach of the PedSALi Collaboration Agreement.

(iii)                     The University is a prosperous institution with considerable income from student fees, bequests and other sources. It can easily afford the services of Eversheds and if necessary take legal action to enforce its will. In contrast, Bill Courtney is a private individual who has invested and lost his retirement savings developing SALi Technology. He cannot defend himself in the courts because he cannot afford expensive legal fees.
The University’s actions in pursuing CI for the full costs of a failed partnership project, while ignoring his agreed commercial confidentiality rights, are unfair acts that may be seen by neutral observers as aggressive and intimidating.

(iv)                    As a result of the University’s hostile actions, Bill Courtney has been denied the fruits of his investment and labours in developing SALi Technology from 1986 onwards. He has the right to claim Damages from the University because its unfair and intimidating actions have, for all practical purposes, brought the development of SALi Technology to a halt.

2nd challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

Exhibit 6 is an extract from the cover letter sent to Sir Martin Harris, when the CrashSALi Project Report was returned. It can be seen that the project had four phases: an induction phase, used to train up the new researcher, followed by three mini-projects, relating to three different SALi patent applications.

It was hoped that the three productive phases would result in three distinctly different journal papers being written. These would lead to opportunities for MIL to attract three groupings of commercial partners and generate three significant EPSRC funding bids.

Two of the three relevant patent applications relate to intellectual property owned by VUM. These are listed as such in the Second Schedule of the Agreement enclosed as Exhibit 2. The relevant documents are:

Courtney, W. A. and Oyadiji, S. O. “Improved impact energy absorbing tubes”

Courtney, W. A. and Oyadiji, S. O. “Impact absorber which activates secondary safety measures”

Dr. Oyadiji lists these two patent applications as his own publications on the University web site. He “over-eggs” the University’s intellectual property claims over the first application by falsely claiming to be the first author. Unfortunately, he publishes an earlier first draft title, which was later amended, on the recommendation of MIL’s patent consultant, Dr. Peter Kolker. Quite correctly, Dr. Kolker pointed out that the original title put the intellectual property at unnecessary risk from rivals, by giving away clues concerning the patent application content, before the application was published.

Please see item 4 of Exhibit 31 for evidence that Dr Oyadiji was aware he was putting University intellectual property at risk by using the earlier title.

It is understood from discussions with Dr. Michelle Cooper, that MIL invested £6,000 employing the services of Marks-Clark Patent Agents, writing the first drafts of the patent applications listed in Second Schedule of the Agreement. Later Dr. Kolker recommended that MIL should entrust the work to W. A. Courtney, with Dr. Kolker acting as a proof reader. Subsequently, this saved MIL several thousand pounds in patent agent fees. W. A. Courtney contributed his time and expertise for free, as a committed member of VUM.

But this was only part of his contribution, as he also won financial backing to allow international patent filing. Exhibit 5 is a copy of an email to PedSALi Project stakeholders. It states that the SMART funding was to be used in part, to pay for the expensive Chapter 2 International patenting fees, for the University patent applications. NB, the email refers to a shortfall of £7,665, compared with the £45,000 requested. The SBS subsequently increased its offer to the full £45,000 which allowed the filing costs for both patent applications to be covered.

In pursuing CI for debts, instead of trying to come to a negotiated solution, the University did harm to itself by cutting off a source of funding for its own international patent filing costs.

The challenge

Two of the three patent applications at the core of the CrashSALi Project are owned by the University. Bill Courtney, in his role as a member had written these. In his role as a partner, he had won funding to pay international filing fees for both of them.

 

(i)                   What are the legal grounds for the University pursuing CI for payment for the whole of the CrashSALi Project, given that the University owned the majority of the underpinning intellectual property, and that it stood to gain financially from its successful outcome?

(ii)                 Was the University acting in the best financial interests of its stakeholders in paying for the services of Eversheds? For this action both provoked a conflict with CI and also resulted in the loss of opportunities to win research funding and royalties from commercial products.

 

3rd challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 The fact that W. A. Courtney has several identities in his relationships with the University/MIL is a lawyer’s delight.

(i)                   First identity W. A. Courtney contributed considerable time and creative effort to the University, in his role as a member, writing the two University patent applications referred to above. He remains a member of the University until his post as Honorary Research Fellow expires, 31st May 2007.

(ii)                 Second identity He acted as the front man for a bid for DTI SMART funding that would be used in part to pay for patent protection for the University’s intellectual property.

(iii)                Following the intervention of Dr Turner, as detailed below, W. A. Courtney warned VUM in writing, that no confidence could be placed in the validity of the inadequately supervised CrashSALi research.

(iv)               Third identity, the inventor and self financed expert on SALi Technology
By failing to heed W. A. Courtney’s warnings, VUM was acting against the best long term interests of the University, because MIL would not be able to use flawed research results to attract commercial interest or allow the University to bid for next stage research funding.

(v)                 The same W. A. Courtney has been pursued by the new University for debt recovery for the total cost of the CrashSALi contract, even though he was only one of the beneficiaries.

 

The challenge

The University does not appear to have recognised the full implications of its actions, when it employed the debt recovery services of Eversheds.

(i)        Is the University acting, in part, on behalf of

The first W. A. Courtney (who, as a member of the University, contributed CrashSALi patent applications to the University portfolio of intellectual property)

by perusing

The second W. A. Courtney (the proxy, who agreed to act as the front man, in applying for funds, that would be used in part to protect University intellectual property),

even though,

The third W. A. Courtney (as the licensee, inventor of SALi Technology and first author of all legitimate published papers) warned that the continuing CrashSALi research was likely to be of a poor quality.

Or,

(ii)       Is the University accidentally pursuing itself for debt recovery, by pursuing one of its own members?

Or,

(iii)      In order to meet the private interests of a tiny number of its members, has the University been lured into a course of actions that have destroyed a partnership developing ethical life saving products?

 

4th challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 In the spring of 2003, the CrashSALi Project backfired when the PedSALi research worker, Dr Zhu resigned. The secrecy and misleading statements surrounding Dr Zhu’s resignation prompted Dow and CI to write a formal letter of complaint to VUM. (Exhibit 7)

The VUM engineers responded by secretly persuading the CrashSALi researcher, Mr Geogiadis, to transfer to the PedSALi research work.

These secret changes were a double blow to CI, because, as can be seen from Exhibit 6 , Phase One of the CrashSALi Project was an induction period, requiring considerable training input from CI.

This phase would have to be repeated at cost to CI, to enable Mr Geogiadis’s replacement to be trained up for the CrashSALi work.

It must be remembered, that CI had already contributed £10,000 to the CrashSALi Project. This contribution had only been made because CrashSALi was a last resort, to help solve the PedSALi Project management problems.

 Professor Reid (Impact and Explosives Engineering, UMIST) was well aware of what was going wrong at VUM. He offered to rescue the PedSALi Project by having the work transferred to UMIST where superior expertise and equipment were available. (Exhibit 27)

Discrete enquiries involving a UMIST contract expert (Exhibit 28) concluded that there was historical precedence for this type of transfer to take place. “The transfer of EPSRC funded research between universities is quite common.”

Professor Reid’s motivation for making this sensitive offer was to protect the long term best interests of Engineering, after the merger of the two universities.

 The proposal was acceptable to Dow and was strongly supported by CI, who had a detailed knowledge of the outstanding resources UMIST could offer. But VUM engineers refused to agree.

Instead they suggested that Dr Turner (VUM) be appointed as SALi research work chairman/coordinator. In this role Dr Turner would act as “an independent person”, not as a member of VUM. (Ref. Exhibit 8, 1st paragraph, line 3)

 CI was uneasy about a member of VUM chairing all future meetings, especially Dr Turner’s proposed veto over the industrial partners,

“I see my job as essentially similar to that of a referee, ensuring ‘fair play’ between the different parties, issuing ‘yellow and red cards’ should these be appropriate, and keeping the project on course to a successful outcome.”

 However, CI opposition softened when Dr. Turner appeared to demonstrate his independence by offering an acceptable solution to the CrashSALi compensation issue.[5]

Dr Turner phoned CI, 13 June 2003, stating that he was working on a compensation package to remedy the losses caused by the transfer of Mr Geogiadis to the PedSALi Project. Dr Turner appeared to be true to his word when the compensation offer came in a letter a few days later. (Exhibit 8)

The wording of the offer was,

"The University will provide the manpower to take the place of Mr Geogiadis on the CrashSALi project (due to finish in October 2003) without any additional cost to Cheshire Innovation and will do everything in its power to minimise the delay."

By releasing CI from having to pay for the services of Mr Geogiadis’s replacement, a new opportunity for supporting the PedSALi research opened up.

After studying the wording of the compensation offer, the Small Business Service who administered the SMART funding, agreed (22 July 2003) to the residual SMART funding being used to finance a third research worker at UMIST, under the supervision of a member of Professor Reid’s research team. This re-cycling of funds would draw in the equipment and personnel expertise, as desired by CI and Professor Reid, without VUM having to surrender its own interests.

Elsa Palamidi, a talented UMIST researcher with specialist skills[6] in new crash research methods developed by Reid et al, at UMIST, expressed interest in the post. Bill Courtney was keen to employ her because he was familiar with her research record.

From Dow’s perspective, UMIST’s revised input was very attractive. Dow had been unable to start their own computer modelling research work, because VUM engineers had not delivered the core characteristic data on SALi. Elsa’s expertise and equipment (a polycarbonate split Hopkinson pressure bar) would solve this problem.

Please see Appendix 1 of Exhibit 10 for an explanation of why VUM engineers had not been able to deliver valid data to Dow.

 Dow/CI were also pleased because with the core characteristic work being done at UMIST, the new PedSALi research assistant, Mr Geogiadis could pick up on the impact tests work on simulated bumpers, which Dr Zhu had started just before his resignation. (As can be seen from Figures 4 and 5 of Exhibit 11, Dr Zhu’s promising, but subsequently unpublished work, was encouraging.[7])

 The method for completing the CrashSALi Project, without CI paying for Mr Geogiadis replacement soon became clear when CI had an unscheduled, informal-one-to-one meeting with the researcher who would carry out the outstanding CrashSALi work, a PhD student named Himi (Sayno Toisa).

Himi explained that the research could be undertaken as part of his PhD studies into SALi type materials and would form a useful contribution in his thesis. But, he warned, there would be delays because the new research had to follow his current run of experiments. CI had previously provided free materials, equipment and training support for Himi’s PhD work. CI had no objections to these conditions, provided commercial confidentiality was respected.

 CI signalled its acceptance of Dr Turners offer by sending a welcome email to Himi.

CI also explained to Drs Turner and Oyadiji how the saving made by not having to pay for Himi’s input would allow extra resources to be contributed to the PedSALi Project.

 On 31 July 2003 a short meeting was held in the Simon Engineering Building. Bill Courtney, Dr Turner, Dr Oyadiji and Mr Geogiadis were present. Dr John Harrigan, a crash and impact specialist from UMIST, who would act as Elsa Palamidi’s research supervisor also attended.

Towards the end of the meeting, Dr Harrigan was escorted from the room by Dr Turner, but Bill Courtney was firmly told to stay behind.

After several minutes Dr Turner returned alone. His body language was aggressive and intimidating.[8] He chastised Bill Courtney for his inability to read “clearly written English.” Dr Turner claimed that his compensation offer actually meant that CI would not be called upon to pay any additional fees for the CrashSALi work, above those agreed in the original contract.

 Dr Turner warned that Himi’s work would proceed without CI’s consent, but if CI did not consent, the compensation offer would be withdrawn. CI would then be held responsible for all the University’s administration fees associated with the personnel changes.

Bill Courtney could not accept the logic of this argument. His preference, as the guardian of the CrashSALi funds, was for the CrashSALi work at VUM to be wound up at no further cost to either party. This would release funds for a UMIST input to the PedSALi work.

 Dr Turner insisted that under his powers as chairman, he had the final say in the matter. He ruled the research work being carried out by Himi had to continue and be paid for by CI.

This ruling was at odds with the SBS interpretation of the compensation offer and it tricked both CI and the SBS, as SMART fund holders, into sponsoring a PhD thesis at a post-doctorate researcher tariff.

 As the guardian of the CrashSALi funds, CI refused to negotiate a compromise reduced contract fee deal with Dr Turner and Dr Oyadiji, involving SMART funds only being used to pay for the continuing VUM work. (According to the original plan agreed with SBS, CI paid 25% of the research fees.) The deal was refused on the grounds that it would do nothing to help the PedSALi Project and would be an unethical use of public funds.

Himi was a student part way through his PhD studies and his first priority was to earn his degree. He was already known to be slipping well behind the three year target period for completion. Given time and Bill Courtney’s guidance, he had the skills to complete a satisfactory CrashSALi Project, but he could not offer the expertise or access to equipment of a committed UMIST researcher. He was not in a position to save the ailing PedSALi Project because motivated research could not emerge from out of the shadows of trickery and intimidation.[9]

Bill Courtney has subsequently paid a high price in terms of stress related illnesses (especially his eyesight, see Exhibit 9) for his refusal to please Drs Turner and Oyadiji. But he does not regret his actions, because he believes that a stand has to be made to maintain ethical standards in British research.

 The superfluous CrashSALi research work by Himi continued despite written protest from CI. See, for example, the correspondence between CI and Lisa Brinksman. The work was a superfluous academic exercise because it was not fulfilling its first and most important role, i.e. helping to rescue the ailing PedSALi Project.

 CI also pointed out, in a letter to VUM, (received 7 October 2003, according to Lisa Brinksman) that because the work was being carried out without the supervisory input of the inventor, neither CI or its University partner could have confidence in the validity of Himi’s work. This was not a criticism of Himi, but a problem caused by the technical novelty of the work. The whole of Exhibit 10, especially Appendix 2, provides evidence that CI’s concerns were justified.

 It is uncertain who wrote the terminal CrashSALi report, because a new name, Mr Weng Wai Chooi, appears as the second author of the report posted to CI. Certainly, Mr Chooi was not approved by CI to work on the CrashSALi Project. Something must have been going wrong if yet another CrashSALi research assistant had to be recruited.

 Consequences for Dow

Blocking UMIST’s input to the project denied Dow its core characteristic data. Dow representatives never turned up at any meetings after 27 June 2003, restricting their input for the last year of the project to emails and phone calls.

Consequences for pedestrians

Dow and CI lost a business opportunity, but the real losers are likely to be the next generation of crash victims. (Exhibit 10, page 8)

Consequences for the University

A successful PedSALi Project would have earned the new University of Manchester International status in its early years. The University also lost the opportunity to earn royalties, as agreed under the terms of the royalty sharing agreement, from the long term outcomes of the PedSALi and CrashSALi research.

 Exhibit 12 sums up the state of the relations, at the time the PedSALi Project was wound up.[10]

The challenge

(i)                        The VUM offer of compensation effectively amounted to this;
“We will not increase our contractually agreed fees if you stop using CrashSALi as an instrument to help PedSALi.”

(ii)                      This was not an offer of compensation; it was an act of intimidation. This form of “compensation” is equivalent to the form of “protection” offered to small businesses by criminal gangs.

(iii)                     CI asserts that because it was misled by Dr. Turner’s “compensation offer” phone call, 13 June 2003, and was tricked into an agreement by the ambiguously worded compensation offer, any agreement between the parties was invalid from the date of the trick.

(iv)                    Consequently, CI has no responsibility to bear the costs VUM brought upon itself by its own scheming.

(v)                      Is the University confident that Dr Turner’s unorthodox work on its behalf falls clearly inside the law?

(vi)                    Does the University agree with CI’s ethical stance, in refusing to approve the spending of public funds on research that would put the PedSALi Project at risk?

(vii)                   If the University has any suspicions that trickery or intimidation was used to enforce the CrashSALi contract, it must withdraw its debt recovery threat until all aspects of the incidents have been fully investigated.

 5th challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

CI returned the unsatisfactory CrashSALi report to the Vice-Chancellor of VUM in January 2004. The report was unsatisfactory for many reasons: some of them technical, relating to flawed experimental design and reporting; others were consumer and contractual issues. Please see Figure 3 below for an example of a contractual issue.

 Sir Martin Harris responded by proposing peer review of the problems, using the services of a mechanical engineer approved by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, with both parties sharing the cost of this service equally.

 As explained in a letter to Sir Martin Harris, dated 19th April 2004, (Exhibit 13) this form of arbitration is inappropriate, because an engineer could not address the contractual reasons why the goods supplied were not fit for purpose.

If CI had agreed to Sir Martin’s proposal, it would only have added another layer of cost and complexity to the dispute, making it impossible to settle within the remaining lifespan of VUM.

 In case there is still any confusion concerning the contractual argument CI was presenting to Sir Martin Harris in the letter of 19th April 2004, the argument will be re-stated, by way of an analogy:

 The point of this analogy is to make it clear that a dispute relating to contract wording has to be resolved by contract lawyers, not engineers.

I purchase a lawnmower from a retailer, paying by cheque. But, on unpacking the item, I discover that it is a folding bicycle. I return the bicycle to the retailer, stating that if I am not supplied with a lawnmower, as agreed, the cheque will be stopped.

The manager of the retail outlet, who also happens to be my marriage partner, protests that a perfectly good bicycle has been supplied. To prove this point, the manager offers to have the bicycle’s mechanical integrity evaluated by an engineer, nominated by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, with both parties paying half the evaluation costs.

I reject this offer, on the grounds that a bicycle is not fit for my intended purpose, i.e. mowing our lawn.

The cheque is stopped, but the manager insists on pursuing me for payment, using the debt recovery services of Eversheds.

Would this use of a debt recovery service be seen as reasonable by an English court of law?

 The proposal made in the name of the Vice-Chancellor was divisive. It created a secondary level of dispute between the partners without getting to the heart of the primary problem. It also had the longer term effect of creating an artificial barrier of hostility between CI and the post-merger University. CI found itself cut off from ex-UMIST engineers, with whom he had previously had excellent and productive relations.

 At the time the letter to Sir Martin Harris was written (Exhibit 13), the Department for Transport (DfT) was planning an arbitration meeting between Dow, CI and VUM. CI envisaged being in a better position to make a constructive response to Sir Martin following the meeting. This is referred to in the letter.

The DfT cancelled the meeting at short notice after realising the complexity of the problems and learning from Dow that the window for commercial opportunity had closed.

Note for web page readers. The DfT only realised the complexity of the problem after Cheshire Innovation had submitted a discussion document to the arbitrators. To see a copy of this document please click.

A copy of this document was submitted to the Formal Enquiry Panel as Document 19.

On 22nd July 2004, the PedSALi Project was wound up with the agreement of the DfT, Dow and CI.

But Dr Turner refused to recognise that the collaborative project had ended, calling stakeholders to a meeting the following month.

A holding response, explaining CI’s position was sent to Sir Martin, 30th June 2004, but a constructive alternative to Sir Martin’s proposal had to wait until late summer, when it was absolutely clear that the PedSALi Project was dead.

 Exhibit 14, is a copy of the follow up letter to Sir Martin Harris, sent 15 August 2004. In this letter, CI proposes the arbitration input of a UMIST mechanical engineer, Professor Reid, to cover research methodology aspects of the dispute, and Dr Michelle Cooper, who had access to the contractual law expertise of MIL, to cover consumer issues. A merit of the CI proposal is that it would have avoided unnecessary auditable costs for both parties. Unfortunately, the CI proposal was not taken up by VUM or the new University of Manchester.

 It is difficult to comprehend why the Vice-Chancellor of VUM would wish to leave a legacy of disputes to the new University, unless he was guided by personnel within VUM, who had a private interest in souring the potentially lucrative business relationship between CI and the University.[11]

The challenge

If the University has any suspicions that Sir Martin Harris was mislead by VUM personnel who have a vested interest in generating friction between CI and VUM, the University should withdraw its debt recovery claims until the evidence has been thoroughly investigated.

 

 Fig. 2. Timeline showing how the PedSALi Project lingered on after its commercial justification died.

 

6th challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 Exhibit 15 is a copy of a letter from Dr. Rogers, on behalf of the University, to my MP Graham Brady. It includes the following sentences,

“We did, however, offer to refer the research report and Mr Courtney’s commentary upon it to an independent arbiter, to be nominated by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, with the University and Cheshire Innovation each paying 50% of the arbitration costs. This offer was made in March 20004 by our then Vice-Chancellor but, despite several reminders, no response to it has been received from Mr Courtney.

In view of the facts that the University regards the project as having been properly completed, and that Mr Courtney has not replied to our offer of arbitration, the University has commenced debt recovery procedures to secure the outstanding balance due for the research work from Mr Courtney.”

 The statement that, “despite several reminders, no response to it has been received from Mr Courtney” is both false and defamatory. The existence of Exhibits 13 and 14 plus the holding letter to Sir Martin Harris, dated 30th June 2004, prove the false nature of Dr Rogers’s statement. The letter is defamatory because it undermines Mr Courtney’s good name and his democratic rights to seek a fair and unbiased hearing from his MP.

2nd defamatory statement

One of the documents released to CI in response to a FOII request reveals that the false statement was repeated by Dr Rogers in a “helpful” letter to the Small Business Service (SBS) (Exhibit 16). The sending of this letter is a matter of serious and urgent concern to CI because:

(i)                   The University has acted unethically by making false and defamatory statements concerning a business partner and Fellow of the University.

(ii)                 The letter now forms part of the government agency records on Cheshire Innovation held by the SBS

(iii)                By making these claims to a third party without informing CI, the University has kept Mr Courtney in ignorance and left him unable to defend himself.

(iv)               The false claims put a current CI bid for public funding at risk.

Evidence that the University is aware of the current public funding bid

A partnership including CI has received a provisional offer of public funding, for university research to investigate a novel method of low CO2 power generation. (www.cheshire-innovation.com/Sky%20Tube.htm)

Heather White, UMIP will confirm that the University has rejected an invitation by CI’s partner to carry out the research because of the current difficulties. (Exhibit 17)  

Fortunately, Lancaster University has offered to carry out the power generator work.

 However, CI’s financial track record will have to be scrutinised before the funding for the Lancaster is made available. Dr Rogers’s letter to the SBS unfairly taints this record.

 Bill Courtney has a basic human right to earn an income from his honest endeavours. The University of Manchester’s actions, in making false statements concerning his professional conduct, have put the future of this new project involving Lancaster University in jeopardy.

The University of Manchester must act promptly to remedy the situation.

The challenge

CI sent several letters to the Vic-Chancellor in response to his arbitration proposal. The three most significant were dated 19 April, 30 June and 15 August 2004. CI has proof that these were received because duplicate copies have been sent to CI under the FOI Act.

However, Dr Rogers, on behalf of the University, has written incorrectly to the SBS and Graham Brady MP that “This offer was made in March 20004 by our then Vice-Chancellor but, despite several reminders, no response to it has been received from Mr Courtney


CI asserts that false and defamatory statements made to the Small Business Service and to Graham Brady MP are not legitimate legal grounds for the University commencing debt recovery procedures. The action of the University undermines Mr Courtney’s right to earn a living by his honest endeavours and constitutes a violation of his human rights, under the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

The University must use its best efforts to repair this loss of human rights.

 

7th challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 In letters to Graham Brady MP and the SBS, Dr Rogers has written, “The University maintains that the work has been properly completed under the terms of the original contract.”

However, it is not necessary to be a mechanical engineer, to recognise that this statement must be false, because the wrong materials were used for Phase Three of the work. Appendix 2 of Exhibit 10 repeats an explanation, previously presented to Sir Martin Harris, when the CrashSALi report was returned to VUM.

Figure 5 from  Exhibit 10 is reproduced below.

Fig. 3. Originally Figure 5 in Exhibit 10. The significance of this figure is best understood if it is considered with reference to paragraphs numbered 7 and 8 of Exhibit 10.

Dr Rogers’s letter includes the following statement,

“Mr Courtney has repeated allegations against the University regarding the conduct of the research on the CrashSALi and PedSALi projects. We have investigated the allegations on every occasion and reject them categorically.”

 

(i)                   Was Dr Rogers aware of Professor Reid’s concerns about the manner in which the CrashSALi and PedSALi projects. Were being conducted at VUM? (Exhibits 27 and 28)

(ii)                 Was he aware of Dr Michelle Cooper’s concerns? (Exhibit %)

(iii)                Was he aware of Dow Chemicals concerns? (Exhibits 7 and 39)

(iv)               Who are the “we” who have carried out these investigations are where is the written evidence?

(v)                 Was it senior personnel, with engineering knowledge, but unconnected with the projects, e.g., Professor Reid.

(vi)               Or was it the authors of the published PedSALi research papers themselves?

(vii)              Did Dr Rogers study the primary written evidence that should exist to support his statement, or did he rely upon hearsay evidence?

(viii)            If an investigation into the CrashSALi work has been carried out as Dr Rogers claims, why has CI not been sent a copy?

(ix)                Why did Sir Martin Harris propose an expensive external evaluation of the CrashSALi Report, without first offering Bill Courtney, a member of the University, a copy of the internal evaluation, for him to read?

Dr Rogers further damages CI’s good name, by the clever use of words on the second page of his letter to Graham Brady MP. The innocent reader would reasonably assume from his wording that the Department for Transport (DfT) took the initiative to exclude CI from the PedSALi Project by withdrawing its funding for CI. However, Exhibit 12 indicates very clearly this assumption would be false: Dow, CI and the DfT agreed to wind up the project because no usable research results were being produced and Dow’s commercial opportunity had been lost.

 

The challenge

The innocent reader of Dr Rogers’s words, would reasonably assume that his clear and assertive statements, written on behalf of a reputable University, must be supported by a substantial body of evidence.

However, the reality is somewhat different:

(i)    CI has presented evidence that Dr Rogers has made false statements to both Graham Brady MP and the SBS, concerning the University’s fulfilment of the CrashSALi contract.

(ii)   These false statements were used as part of the “evidence” to justify the use of Eversheds debt recovery services. The services of an internationally noted debt recovery agency are not employed lightly by responsible organisations, so their employment by the University adds further credibility to the false case against CI.

(iii)   Additional “evidence” was supplied by the clever use of wording, which created the illusion that CI had been excluded from the PedSALi Project by the Department for Transport.

(iv)  Dr Oyadiji, Dr Turner and Bill Courtney are all members of the University. They are all entitled to equal and fair treatment, even though Bill Courtney has made his contributions to the corporate life of the University at his own expense. Bill Courtney should have been sent full copies of all the documents relating to the investigations Dr Rogers refers to.

(v)    Was due care taken to examine both sides of the arguments before letters were sent to Graham Brady MP and the SBS? Certainly, Bill Courtney was not contacted by Dr Rogers, to hear his version of events.

(vi)  This is a human rights issue. It is asserted that the University must withdraw all statements made on its behalf to both Graham Brady MP and the SBS, until a fair assessment of their validity, considering all the available evidence, is made.

 

8th challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 

Bill Courtney has no personal knowledge of Dr Rogers. There is no obvious reason why he should put his career and reputation at risk by making defamatory statements, unless he was unwittingly acting on behalf of a mischievous third party.

For example, Exhibit 29 is a reproduction of two slides used for Bill Courtney’s teaching work at UMIST. The slides show photographs of corrosion tests carried out in CI’s workshop before the bellows, illustrated in Figure 3, were handed over to the VUM researchers, 12 May 2003. Annotated copies of the photographs were handed over with the bellows.

 These results would come as no surprise to the Principal Investigator.  Both he and Bill Courtney had been warned not to use engine oil for this experiment, when SALi suspension systems were discussed during a visit to the British research laboratories of the Malaysian Rubber Producers Research Association (MRPRA) near Luton, 5 March 2001.

 It is difficult to understand why corrosive materials were knowingly used for Phase Three of the CrashSALi work, unless there was a mischievous intention to provoke a conflict when the CrashSALi report was delivered.

The challenge

Was Dr Rogers aware that his heavy handed response to the letter from  Graham Brady MP,  would lead to the loss of the following opportunities:

(i)                   For ex-UMIST engineers to bid for research funding for body armour applications of SALi Technology, ranging from stab and gunshot protection for paramedics to shin guards for footballers. (Exhibits 22 and 23.)

(ii)                 For Cranfield University RMCS to work with the University and commercial partners exploiting the blast mitigating properties of SALi type devices, to develop new products to protect British and American citizens from terrorist bombs and British troops from landmine attacks. (Exhibit 21)

(iii)                For the commercial arm of the University to develop the 50:50 royalty sharing partnership with CI, to earn income for the University.

(iv)               For the University to enhance its international status, in accordance with its own long term vision, by gaining the credit for i, ii and iii above.

If the University has any suspicions that Dr Rogers hand was guided in his letter writing, by a third party intent on creating mischief, the University should withdraw its assumed right to pursue CI for debt recovery.

 

9th challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 In January 2004, CI received two confidential tip-offs from within VUM/UMIST:

(i)                   In addition to the PedSALi and CrashSALi projects, another project exploring the benefits of SALi Technology had been running within the Manchester School of Engineering. This had been written up, with at least one copy of the report circulating within the NW business community. This work had been done without the support of CI and was, therefore , of questionable quality. It could have put the good name of SALi Technology at risk.
CI wrote to the Vice-Chancellor asking him to look into the matter. In response, Sir Martin Harris admitted to the existence of the report and named the author of the report as ### ####1 However, Sir Martin evaded CI’s request for a copy of the report. So it is still unknown whether or not its existence damages the good name of CI intellectual property. [12]

(ii)                 At least one company, having read the report, had held discussions with Dr. Oyadiji, under the impression that he was the inventor of SALi Technology. Sir Martin was invited to confirm or deny this second tip-off, but he did not reply.

 1 Note for web page readers.
The name of the author of this report is withheld from the online version of Document C1 because he is an innocent party led astray by his project supervisor.

 Exhibit 25, a document obtained by CI, using the Freedom of Information Act. It indicates that Dr Oyadiji was the guiding hand behind Sir Martin Harris’s letter. Dr Oyadiji successfully argues that the #### report should be withheld to prevent University intellectual property becoming known to CI. This need for commercial secrecy is curious: given that CI had entered into a contractual business relationship with the University; that Bill Courtney, as a Fellow, had contributed patent applications and that at least one copy of the report was circulating inside the NW business community. Withholding a report, when others have free access to it, is not normal commercial secrecy, it is a deliberate act of exclusion.

This evidence suggests that Dr Oyadiji was working to a private agenda, at variance with the University/CI partnership.

 This secretive and dubious professional behaviour tarnishes the public perception of universities in general as open and trustworthy institutions. It sends out a message to industry that the University of Manchester cannot be relied upon as a commercial partner.

If the University wishes to work with industry, it must abide by similar rules of conduct. Private industry would not tolerate disloyal employees working in opposition to the best interests of their company.

The challenge

The #### incident provides an insight into shady activities unbecoming to the good name of the University of Manchester.

 

Is the University confident that it is not being manipulated from within, by personnel who wish to create an artificial dispute, to hide evidence that they are working to a private agenda, at variance with the best interests of the University?

 

10th challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

Pedestrian accidents cause many thousands of crippling injuries and premature deaths on Europe’s roads each year.[13] The PedSALi Project was awarded Foresight Link (Vehicle) programme funding because expert opinion within the automobile industry considered that the SALi’s unique energy absorbing properties offered a realistic chance of reducing such injuries. The project failed because four years after the (three year) collaboration agreement between VUM, Dow Chemicals and CI was signed, VUM had failed to delivery any usable research results to Dow. This  prevented Dow building a prototype bumper. Consequently, the window of commercial opportunity for Dow was lost. Please see Exhibit 10 for details.

Following the termination of the Foresight Link project, VUM continued its PedSALi research. A search of the internet subsequently revealed that the new University of Manchester has breached commercial confidentiality by publishing papers relating to the project at two international conferences, without the knowledge and consent of CI.[14]

Exhibits 10 and 11 present evidence that the papers presented to date have mislead the international research community, by passing off false research as valid research into CI’s patented devices.

Please note from Exhibit 10, VUM colleagues had been warned that their work was false at the 10th Formal PedSALi Meeting, 29 September, 2003.

Bill Courtney has spent 21 (twenty one) years and invested £142,000 of his own resources, developing intellectual property rights from which he is entitled to earn a living. These rights relate to impact energy absorbing devices, consisting of stout, flexible, high tensile stiffness bags, which do not stretch significantly during impact, filled with a mixture of compressible capsules and a viscous fluid.

Passing off of fake research (Also see Appendix One.)

The University has deceived the international research community and possibly the EPSRC by describing fake research into CI’s intellectual property. The research is fake, because, instead of using the high tensile stiffness packaging sheaths supplied by CI, the researchers have only presented results relating to low tensile stiffness packages that do stretch significantly during impact.

The audience is deceived because CI’s patents are referenced as the prior art, but no attempt is made to distinguish between the prior art and the devices described in the papers. The importance of these differences is discussed in further detail in Exhibits 10 and 11. Dr Oyadiji can supply copies of the relevant papers. He can also advise whether or not copies were sent to the EPSRC.[15]

 

Additional evidence that the passing off was a conscious act

A Birmingham University based expert witness, used by the Coroners Courts to provide a technical opinion in crash accident (helmet) enquiries, became interested in the PedSALi Project.

The expert, Dr Nigel Mills ($$$$$$$$.ac.uk)*, and his colleague Dr Allan Gilchrist attended a meeting with Dr Oyadiji, Bill Courtney and Dr Michele Cooper (MIL) in the Simon Engineering Building, 28 May 2002 .
*To avoid scavenging software email addresses have been removed from the online version of this document.

Dr Mills was forthright. He questioned the Principle Investigators ability to understand crash impact data, especially accelerometer signals.[16] He offered to provide expert assistance interpreting impact test results, but the offer was declined.

Dr Mills also drew attention to the important differences between devices designed to provide comfort against gentle impacts, for example inserts in shoes and devices required to absorb large amounts of crash energy.

Dr Mills explained that the Nike Sportswear Company owned patents similar to SALi Technology, but with two important differences: (i) the packaging was made from elastic material, similar to Dow’s Covelle thin films, not a high tensile stiffness bag (ii) the Nike type devices were described as soft cushions and were not claimed as having any violent impact energy absorbing properties.

A copy of Nike patent US 626.65 was handed over. Multiple copies were later made for the VUM engineers and MIL.

Exhibit 30 is a pair of emails sent the following day, alerting VUM engineers and MIL to the implications of the Nike patent literature. It is, therefore, surprising that subsequent papers presented at the SAVIAC and SPIE conferences describe investigations into soft Nike type devices, but CI’s patent literature, not Nike’s, is cited as the prior art.

 The authors appear to have adopted a number of tactics to prevent CI revealing the truth about the misleading research results presented in their papers:

(i)       They have breached commercial confidentiality by publishing papers without supplying copies to CI for correction and comment.

(ii)     There are no references to CI’s role as project lead partner or licensee of the technology being investigated.

(iii)    The original drop test rig, designed by the Principle Investigator, was built too low to deliver the impact velocities to meet EU requirements. CI solved this problem by converting the rig into a giant catapult. The catapult design is illustrated in one of the SAVIAC conference papers, but CI’s role in designing, acquiring materials for and supervising the construction of the catapult is not acknowledged.

(iv)   CI has also recently discovered that its name has been airbrushed off the list of partners for the PedSALi Project, as published on the EPSRC web site. (Web page reproduced as Exhibit 24)

(v)     The authors have also failed to cite the Nike patent as the true prior art, even though it is clear from Exhibit 30, they were aware of their existence.

 QUESTION Why would the University researchers/authors wish to mislead the international research community?

 A confidential source has given CI sight of a letter, dated 15th August 2004, apparently from Dr Turner to the EPSRC. This purported letter contains the following sentences,

 “It may be that the experimental findings do not always show the SALi concept in the most positive light but that risk is present whenever basic research is initiated, no matter how disappointing this may be. Failure to achieve all the desired outcomes surely does not invalidate the research since, if that were the case, very few projects would be undertaken.”

 This letter, if true, complements an observation made by Professor Thompson, Head of the School of Engineering, quoted by Professor Coombs, “it would seem that Dr Oyadiji was motivated strongly by a desire to publish in order to obtain a good report from EPSRC ..” ( Quoted from a letter to CI, 17 November 2006.)

 In order to establish the truth of the matter, CI has used the FOI Act, to request copies of all correspondence between the University PedSALi researchers and the EPSRC. In response, it has only received a limited number of documents from 2003. This is one year before the purported Dr Turner letter to the EPSRC.

 Fig. 4. The University has only released a limited number of the PedSALi documents sent to the EPSRC.  CI had expected to receive a copy of the terminal report plus copies of any other documents required for the PedSALi Project funding assessment. The withholding of key documents has done nothing to reduce CI’s suspicions that personnel within the University have misled the EPSRC by presenting fake evidence that SALi Technology does not work.

 (NB CI recognises the University Records Office has experienced considerable difficulties in unearthing the documents requested by CI. No criticism of the Records Office is implied because of its failure to supply PedSALi related documents dated later than 2003.)

 My MP, Graham Brady, the Shadow Minister for Europe, has also tried to find out the truth about the failure of the PedSALi Project by writing first to the University, then to the Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury. However, his attention was diverted by the false statements made by Dr Rogers, responding on behalf of the University.

The challenge

The evidence suggests that a tiny number of University personnel have found themselves in a difficult position, with regards to EPSRC funding for the PedSALi Project. In order to gain this funding, they had to overcome the evidence against them, as presented in Exhibits 7, 12, 19 and elsewhere.

Instead of presenting valid experimental results (e.g. Exhibit 11, Figure 3.) a series of fake results mimicking Nike type cushions, involving low tensile stiffness packaging, has been presented in published papers.

It is known from the Nike patent literature (US Patent 5,626,657) that such devices are described as suitable for soft cushioning purposes, but are not claimed as suitable for absorbing crash impacts.

These fake results give a false impression that SALi Technology does not work. Figures 4 and 5, Exhibit 11, show how effectively this trick has been pulled off.

The only person possessing sufficient knowledge to expose this fraud is a fellow member of the University, Bill Courtney.

By unfairly pursuing him for debts for the CrashSALi Project, Bill has been outcast from the University for the last two years, making it far more difficult for him to expose the fraud.

 

11th challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 On 22nd October 1998, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a documentary programme, "Science in the Attic" exclusively featuring Bill Courtney as an inventor. As a result of the programme, Bill was invited to discuss SALi Technology with engineers at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) laboratories in the Midlands. It was here that he learned of the “conflict of stiffness” problem. That is, the conflicting design demands for a car bumper that was both soft for pedestrian accidents and stiff for other types of collisions. This problem was baffling automobile engineers and holding up progress in the development of pedestrian friendly motor vehicles.

The unique properties of SALi type devices suggested they could solve the problem. Subsequent small scale experiments carried out by Bill confirmed this. A conference paper, [W. A. Courtney and O. S. Oyadiji, “Preliminary investigations into the mechanical properties of a novel shock absorbing composite”] describing Bill’s preliminary findings was presented at an international engineering conference in Dublin, 3-6 August 1999.

A simplified, reader friendly version of the findings was also published in Auto Express magazine, 14th July 1999. A senior Dow Chemicals, Automotive Division employee, Peter Cate read the article, and contacted Bill, in his role as proprietor of CI, proposing a project to develop Bill’s designs.

Discussions at Dow Company HQ in America took place, followed by a meeting at the Simon Engineering Building. The head of Dow’s automobile division flew over from Detroit to attend. The medium term outcome of this meeting was the setting up of the PedSALi Project.

In anticipation of a successful PedSALi bid, Bill continued his research into small scale models of car bumpers. This work was written up in the form of two papers for submission to the Journal of Automobile Engineering. Abstracts of the papers titled “A novel Shock Absorbing Liquid composite with potential for automotive engineering applications” Parts 1 and 2, are attached as Exhibit 18

Draft copies of the papers were handed over to Bill’s research supervisor, Dr Oyadiji, 12 June 2000.

Unfortunately, over the following years, a long series of minor objections were raised by the second author, Dr Oyadiji. As a result the papers were never published.

 Bill’s research diary records the following objections being raised:

(i)                   Diagrams should be transferred from the main body of the text to an annex to the text.

(ii)                 The diagrams should not only be transferred back to the main body of the text, but should also be included as an annotated annex.

(iii)                The annotations should be removed from the annex.

(iv)               The order of the diagrams should be changed.

(v)                 The size of the markers on the graphs should be changed.

(vi)               The shape of the markers should be changed.

(vii)              The trend lines should be changed from solid lines to dashed lines. (And vice-versa.)

An important feature retained by all these draft versions was that the packaging for the device remained true to that specified in the patent applications, i.e., it was flexible, but constructed from high-tensile stiffness material that did not stretch significantly during impact. The importance of the low stretch features and of correct packaging geometry were discussed in detail.

The reader of this document can verify the emphasis on correct packaging from the first sentence of each abstract. For example, for the first paper, the first sentence  reads,

“The impact absorbing properties of a novel class of devices consisting of stout, flexible, high tensile stiffness bags filled with a blend of small elastomeric capsules and a matrix fluid are introduced.”

 At least one draft version of these papers, possibly many, should be available from the second author, Dr Oyadiji.

 Bill Courtney, in his role as first author, has consistently lobbied the second author for the papers to be published.

But, publication would inform the international research community that SALi type devices must be packaged in high tensile stiffness packages if they are to be effective.

This would cause an embarrassing problem for the second author. He would find it difficult to explain why he went to America and presented international conference papers describing fake SALi research into pedestrian friendly bumpers, involving low tensile strength packages.

 The only way this problem could be avoided was by isolating Bill Courtney from the University, so that he was no longer around to lobby for publication of papers that told the truth about SALi Technology.

 In humanitarian terms, the suppression of these papers has had immeasurable consequences. The EU decision to water down its pedestrian friendly bumper requirements (Figure 1 above) was a close run thing, with considerable opposition from Euro MPs. Unfortunately, because the PedSALi partners could not present the MPs with peer reviewed papers which demonstrated that a technical solution to the so called “conflict of stiffness” problem was in sight, we lost the leverage needed to tip the balance in favour of the EU sticking to plans for pedestrian friendly bumpers.

Safety regulations can be strengthened if scientific developments permit. But it will require a considerable act of moral courage by the University, if it is to work with Bill Courtney, to tell the truth about a SALi based solution to the conflict of stiffness problem.

 Evidence that this suppression was part of a pattern of behaviour

The suppression of these papers is not an isolated incident. For example in June 1999, the Head of the Advanced Materials and Processing Branch of NASA wrote to Bill Courtney at the School of Engineering,

“In looking over the research that you have done, I find it very interesting and it may be of value to some NASA programmes in the future.”

(Exhibit 32)

The letter included advice on how to spot future opportunities for working with NASA by reading their regular solicitations. MIL and CI followed the NASA advice diligently, identifying two areas for funding bids: (i) the first lunar settlement and (ii) shock/cosmic radiation absorbing spacecraft fuel.

Details of the first lunar settlement are included as part of Exhibit 32, the new thinking on fuels is recorded as item S11.1.1 on the final page of Exhibit 2.

A statement that the NASA bid was close to submission in October 2000, is made in the final sentence of Exhibit 31. However, an email sent ten months later in June 2001 (Exhibit 32) shows that Bill Courtney was still making revisions to the NASA submission to meet Dr Oyadiji’s pernickety demands. Dr Oyadiji was still suppressing the NASA bid at the time the present debt recovery dispute started.

Either of these NASA bids, if successful, would have contributed to the international status of the University.

The First Lunar Settlement concept envisaged a SALi Technology building being constructed which used materials likely to be found in the polar regions of the moon. It is particularly disappointing that this exciting research opportunity has been squandered, considering NASA’s recent announcement that the first permanent human settlement beyond Earth will be built near the South Pole of the moon.

If the first building on another planet had been designed at Manchester University, we would have left a legacy of pride for Manchester, for centuries to come.

The challenge

Two examples have been presented, which show that Bill Courtney was keen to play his part as a member of the University, writing original papers and seeking funding for highly original research. The papers set out the ground rules for designing a new class of pedestrian friendly car bumpers and the funding bids were designed to take the University to the leading edge of space research.

But his efforts were thwarted by the less than supportive behaviour of his colleague and academic supervisor.

Is the University entirely confident that the claim for debt recovery is not being kept alive as an instrument of division, to isolate Bill Courtney from his University colleagues, and thus prevent him exposing a trail of uncooperative behaviour that has worked against the long term interests of the University?

 

12th challenge 1to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 Appendix 2 of Exhibit 19 gives an indication of the commercial opportunities that would have opened up to the Cheshire Innovation/University of Manchester partnership, if the PedSALi Project had been completed successfully. The majority of the commercial enquiries relate to applications in which SALi type devices would be used to protect people from crippling or fatal impact injuries. These range from buffering luxury car drivers against crash injuries, to protecting third world villagers in war ravaged counties from mutilating landmine injuries.

Any actions which amount to the suppression of SALi Technology are equivalent, in humanitarian terms, to blocking a major development in medical science.

 The University has an ethical duty to humanity, to examine why:

(i)             The international research community (and possibly the EPSRC) has been presented with research data, which passes off as research into CI’s patented SALi Technology, but is more accurately described as research into soft, Nike type comfort cushions. Papers that deceive fellow researchers have certainly been presented at the SAVIAC and SPIE international engineering conferences, as detailed in Exhibit 10, paragraph number 9. A journal paper may also have been published.

(ii)           The papers were presented in “secret”. That is, without the prior knowledge and consent of CI and in breach of confidentiality.[17] The papers are characterised by a complete absence of any reference to the role of CI in the PedSALi Project and fail to acknowledge that the research was carried out under licence from CI. In contrast, all other principle suppliers of assistance are acknowledged. The number of these deceptions and omissions provide strong evidence that the intention to mislead was well thought out.

(iii)          The professional integrity of the inventor of SALi Technology has been undermined by false and defamatory statements being made to the SBS and Graham Brady MP. Consequently, he is hampered it his desire to use his creative talents for the common good of humanity.

 

The challenge

The University has an ethical obligation to humanity to investigate well founded claims by a Research Fellow of the University and commercial project partner, that a small number of its personnel have undermined attempts to develop a potentially life saving technology.

It cannot avoid this obligation, by hiding behind unwarranted claims that it has the right to pursue the inventor of the technology for debt recovery.

 

13h challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 

Exhibit 20 is a copy of a letter sent to the Head of the School of Engineering five years ago. It is clear from the letter that although the writer Bill Courtney has serious concerns, he also has strong feelings of goodwill towards the University.

In spite of the many difficulties experienced since then, Bill Courtney’s fundamental goodwill persists because he recognises that only a tiny number of personnel have been wittingly causing the problems. However goodwill is not so elastic that Bill Courtney is prepared to write off all his hard work during the last twenty one years and walk away having lost his retirement savings.

 

The challenge

Does the University recognise that, as an ethical institution, it has a duty to carefully examine whether or not it should compensate its former business partner for the losses he has incurred and that as a first step, it should withdraw its looming threat of pursuing him for debt recovery?

 

14h challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 It is important to stress that although problems have been experienced with a tiny number of engineers originating from VUM, relationships with UMIST engineers have always been excellent. Unfortunately, the UMIST relationship dissolved when the two universities merged. Exhibits 22 and 23 are evidence of research opportunities that were lost when the relationship dissolved.

 

The challenge

CI suggests that elements within the University recognise that the case for pursuing Bill Courtney, a Fellow of the University, for debt recovery is without legal foundation.

But fear of the unknown consequences, for internal relations between ex UMIST and VUM staff, clouds their judgement. Maintaining a legal threat over Bill Courtney is an easier option than facing reality.

 

15h challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 The international scientific community cannot be fooled for ever. At some time in the future, the fake nature of the published Manchester work will be exposed. For example, Columbia University, New York has expressed interest in investigating SALi Technology and a licensing agreement has been signed. (Exhibit 26)

A recent enquiry has also been received from the University of Pittsburgh. (Exhibit 33)

Nearer to home, Professor Ian Horsfall at Cranfield ($$$$$$$$$.ac.uk) and Professor Tony Atkins at Reading ($$$$$$$$$$.ac.uk) have prepared a bid for EPSRC funding to compare SALi type impact absorbers with bio-mimetic devices which have a cellular structure similar to apples or carrots.

 At the time of writing, the only person with a clear case that their rights have been violated by the passing off of false research by the University is the inventor. However, if the University does not act promptly to remove artificial barriers to the development of SALi Technology, lawyers acting for injured pedestrians and victims of accidents involving products manufactured by any of the companies listed in Appendix 2 of Exhibit 19 will be able to make a plausible case for damages against the University. The graphics presented in Appendix 1 of this document suggest that the difference between valid and false SALi research can be explained in a convincing non-technical manner to a jury.

The challenge

 

The University is exposed to the risk of having to pay unlimited damages to future generations of crash accident victims whose lives had been blighted by unnecessary injuries.

The case for Damages will be strengthened because a highly respected member of the University, Professor Steve Reid, recognised the seriousness of the problem four years ago. (Exhibits 27 and 28)

Professor Reid tried to make a helpful intervention, but for internal reasons his efforts were thwarted.

The University may be judged as having entered into a conspiracy to suppress the development of a potentially life saving technology if it continues to maintain an artificial case for debt recovery against one of its own members.

16h challenge to the right of the University to pursue CI for debt recovery

 This document provides a large amount of secondary evidence that members of the University may have made a false claim on public funding by presenting fake evidence to the EPSRC that SALi Technology does not work as described in CI’s patent literature. An attempt has been made to obtain the primary evidence from the University (see Figure 4 above) but the documents covering the relevant time period have not been released.

The challenge

If the University discovers that fake evidence has been submitted to the EPSRC, with regards to SALi type impact absorbers, will it inform the EPSRC, in order to ensure that future bids for SALi research funding, such as that planned by Reading and Cranfield Universities are not undermined?

 

CONCLUSION

Cheshire Innovation will continue to pursue the matters discussed above until:

(i)                   The University has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that the international research community is not misled by the publication of fake research describing inappropriately packaged devices that pass off as SALi type impact absorbers.

(ii)                 Any EPSCR records making reference to the fake research have been corrected.

(iii)                Cheshire Innovation’s good name with Graham Brady MP and the SBS is restored.

(iv)               Fair compensation for business losses has been paid.

 It is recognised that only a tiny number of University personnel have wittingly been involved in hampering the development of SALi Technology. As a keen supporter of the British Higher Education system, CI is very concerned that in order for the truth to be told, some collateral damage will have to be tolerated.

If a fair settlement is reached, CI would welcome the opportunity to help minimise this damage by publicly stating its willingness to work with the University on future projects.

 

Yours sincerely,

 Bill Courtney

c. c.         Professor Rod Coombs.

                Amy Aeron-Thomas, Executive Director, RoadPeace
                June Webb, RoadPeace North West

                Brigitte Chaudhry MBE, President European Federation of Road Traffic Victims

 

Appendix One

 False research passing off as investigations into Cheshire Innovations SALi Technology:  A comparison of SALi and Nike type devices

1.1  SALi type devices are defined in the Cheshire Innovation patent literature.[18] Their automobile crash protection properties are discussed in unpublished papers by Courtney and Oyadiji[19].

 Courtney and Oyadiji refer to “A class of devices consisting of stout, flexible, high tensile stiffness bags filled with a blend of small elastomeric capsules and a matrix fluid.”

1.2  Nike type devices are defined in a Nike Sportswear Company patent US 626.65.

Nike and SALi type devices have similar fillings, but Nike devices include a low tensile strength elastic packaging.

Nike devices don’t seem to have been widely used in footwear, but the Sumed Medical Aids Company has used them successfully in mattresses and cushions for wheelchairs. www.sumed.co.uk/Cushioning.htm

2.1          Medical benefits of Nike/Sumed type devices

The attraction of an elastic packaging for medical applications is that friction induced bed sores are reduced, because the packaging moves with the overlying skin tissue when the patient shifts their weight. Bill Courtney has spent time at the Artificial Limb Unit at Withington Hospital, Manchester and can verify from practical experience, Nike/Sumed type devices offer superior comfort and support when used as wheelchair cushions, compared with SALi type devices.

But, as the following diagrams indicate, Nike/Sumed type devices are ineffective for absorbing violent crash levels of impact energy.

2.2                Crash protection benefits of SALi type devices

 

 

Figure 1. Nike/Sumed type devices have elastic packaging. During an impact, the packaging stretches, allowing the elastomeric capsules to be displaced without suffering significant compression. Dow Chemicals Covelle (as used for blood and plasma bags) would be an appropriate packaging material. A similar shaped bag filled with pure liquid would offer similar crash protection properties but would be approximately three times heavier.

To convert a Nike/Sumed device into a SALi device, some form of low stretch outer covering for the whole package is required. 

For basic lab tests, stout poly-cotton sheaths should have been used. UMIST engineers planned to use Kevlar sheaths for their research on SALi based body armour. (Exhibit 22) For car bumper applications, the Covelle inner bag would be enclosed between a traditional plastic facia to the front, and the metal bodywork to the rear.

 

Figure 2. The packaging for SALi type devices does not stretch significantly under impact. Consequently, hydraulic pressure causes all of the elastomeric capsules inside the bag to be compressed, even those to the sides of the impact zone. The viscous liquid swirls around the shrinking capsules, contributing viscous damping to the energy absorbing effect.

 

Quantitative differences between SALi and Nike/Sumed type impact absorbers are discussed in detail in Exhibit 11. The discussion centres on a comparison between experiments using correctly packaged devices carried out by the first research assistant, and work on incorrectly packaged devices carried out by his successor. Two of the diagrams from Exhibit 11 are reproduced below

 

 

 The comparisons made, using Figures 3 and 4 above, are not strictly valid. This is because the unpublished results refer to samples having a smaller cross sectional circumference than the published work. If results for similar sized samples had been compared, the magnitude of the deceit would have been even more obvious. 

3              The harm and benefits of publishing false research

 3.1          Harm

The authors have passed off research into soft Nike/Sumed type devices as research into firm SALi type devices. This tricks engineers into thinking that SALi type devices offer no assistance when designing crash protection products.

3.2          Benefits

The false research papers would add credibility to Dr Turner’s (purported) prediction to the EPSRC,

“It may be that the experimental findings do not always show the SALi concept in the most positive light but that risk is present whenever basic research is initiated, no matter how disappointing this may be. Failure to achieve all the desired outcomes surely does not invalidate the research since, if that were the case, very few projects would be undertaken.”

 It is relatively easy to fool the peer review system because the definitive papers describing automobile applications of SALi Technology have been withheld from publication. In order to pull off this trick of deception, it is only necessary to ensure that the first author of these papers, W. A. Courtney, is kept isolated from the research community and remains ignorant of the publication of false research.

4              Evidence that the authors of the PedSALi related papers were aware of the differences between SALi and Nike type devices

4.1     The Principal Investigator for the PedSALi project was also Bill Courtney’s research supervisor for his academic work as a student/member of VUM. From 1996 onwards, he was aware of the importance of correct packaging.

4.2     The Principal Investigator was also the second author for a number of published and unpublished papers describing early investigations into SALi Technology.

4.3     The Principal Investigator was present at a meeting with Drs Mills and Gilchrist, from Birmingham University, when the Birmingham engineers discussed the relative merits of SALi and Nike type devices. (Simon Engineering Building, 28 May 2002)

4.4     Dr Mills gave the Principal Investigator a copy of Nikes US patent at the meeting.

4.5     Professor Wright, Dr Oyadiji’s line manager, spoke about the engineering significance of SALi Technology on the BBC’s Radio Four. (Science in the Attic, A portrait of inventor Bill Courtney,, BBC Sound Archives for 1998.) Following the programme, an amputee wrote to Professor Wright, proposing research into the use of SALi devices in prostheses. As a consequence, two of the authors discussed a feasibility project with Bill Courtney. It was during this period that  the relative merits of using Nike/Sumed and SALi type devices for medical applications crystallised.. (Exhibit 35)

4.6     A Dow engineer, Eugenio Toccalino, speaking by telephone, warned three of the authors present at the 10th Formal PedSALi Meeting, 29 September 2003, that the research into the Nike type devices was irrelevant. This was because, for automobile applications, the Covelle bags would be bounded by the high tensile stiffness bumper in front of the bags.[20]

4.7     The PedSALi Project description given on the EPSRC web site explains that in order to be effective, the SALi fluid must undergo bulk compression. By definition, the material must, therefore, be compressed, instead of simply moving into the volume created by the expanding elastic package. (Exhibit 24)

4.8     The description of the PedSALi Project given on the Department for Transport web site is even more explicit,
 “The packaging provides a flexible leak-proof envelope to contain the liquid and capsules but, importantly, it must not stretch significantly during load application”
This web page is reproduced as Appendix 1 of Exhibit 11.

 

5      Evidence that the authors of the published PedSALi work intentionally misled the international research community 

5.1     As discussed above, invalid and misleading research results have been published but valid PedSALi results have not. The invalid work contradicts the plan of work that won EPSRC funding.

5.2     A Technical Review Meeting was held in the Simon Engineering Building, 9th September 2003.  Bill Courtney did not attend because he was being treated by his GP for stress related illnesses. (Exhibit 42.) No Dow representatives attended. The Minutes of the Meeting included the following sentence,
“It was agreed that the use of a textile “containing bag” around the Covelle bag should not be investigated further since this is not acceptable to Dow.”
This statement is false and completely misrepresented Dow’s wishes. Therefore, the Minutes that were sent to the EPSRC, Department for Transport (DfT) and Foresight Vehicle deceived them.
The deceit is easily exposed by inspecting Exhibits 40 and 41. Exhibit 40 is the last version of the Microsoft Project Plan for the PedSALi Project, prepared by Peter Cate, a Dow representative (7th July 2003). The plan refers to experiments involving different lengths of SALi type devices (”beams”). The work is essentially a scaled up repeat of the experiments described in the unpublished papers by Courtney and Oyadiji (Exhibit 18) It is taken as read that the work involves high tensile strength outer sheaths, because these were used for the earlier, unpublished work.
After Peter Cate was taken off the PedSALi Project and Bill Courtney’s health declined, the VUM researchers took over the job of updating the Project Plan. Exhibit 41 is a copy of their only known update on Peter’s work, (2nd November 2003.) It can be seen that even though none of Peter’s tasks 29 to 89 had been completed, all reference to them have been removed from the plan. They are replaced by new tasks 10 to 40, all of which involve elastic Covelle packaging.
(A steel restraining tube is referred to, but the central part of the package in the impact zone was still unsheathed elastic Covelle. These results would have been valid, if the Covelle bag had been held snugly inside the fabric sheath supplied by CI. A large tin of talcum power was handed over with the sheath, because from previous experience, Bill had found this useful when inserting SALi devices into steel tubes.)
Bill Courtney had known for seventeen (17) years that elastic walled devices made ineffective impact absorbers. His research supervisor had shared this knowledge since 1996. It is difficult to come up with an ethically acceptable reason, why this deception in the research records was perpetrated.

5.3     The Dow engineer, Eugenio Toccalino, phoned in to the 10th Formal PedSALi Meeting to warn that the Covelle only results were invalid, because in reality, high tensile strength, traditional plastic bumper facias would be used to cover the Covelle bags. Dow earned a good income from selling traditional bumpers. It was seeking a new product, to place inside the bumpers, not to replace them Reference; Exhibit 38, the Minutes of the Meeting.)
In spite of Dow’s warning, the University has not only published the invalid work, but created an illusion of credibility by acknowledging Dow role as a project partner, (This issue is discussed in Exhibit 11.)

5.4     Following Eugenio’s phoned in criticism, Foresight Vehicle representatives at the 10th Formal PedSALi Meeting asked a series of penetrating questions, in an attempt to understand why the VUM researchers appeared  to be wasting time doing irrelevant work.
The Principle Investigator responded by agreeing that their work was not an investigation into SALi type devices as specified in the original funding bid. But, he blamed Eugenio’s Dow colleague, Peter Cate, for insisting on research involving elastic packaging being done. Neither Peter nor any other Dow people were present in the room to refute this accusation. However, the Principle Investigator seems to have forgotten that the telephone line to Eugenio remained open. The unjust accusations were heard and noted by Dow Europe.

5.5     In order to ensure that there was a true historical record of how VUM had stained Peter Cate’s name in the eyes of the EPSRC, DfT and Foresight, Dow and CI exchanged documents.
(Exhibit 39.)
 




Figure 6. When trying to manipulate the truth about Dow’s research requirements, a careless mistake was made.
The VUM re-write of the MS Project Plan completely ignores all of the agreed work recorded in Sections 6 (ii) and 6 (iii) of the Minutes of the 10th Formal PedSALi Meeting. (The “former” for shaping SALi beams discussed in Section 6 (iii) had been constructed to Dow’s requirements by CI. It would have allowed correct “D” shaped devices, analogous to a car bumper to be tested. It was not used by the VUM researchers. This issue is discussed as the second objection in Exhibit 11.)

5.6     The second research assistant, who carried out the false research, was aware of the importance of correct packaging. Bill Courtney supplied him with two stout, high tensile strength cloth sheaths for covering the elastic Covelle inner packaging. Exhibit 36 is an email, from the assistant to Bill, stating the dimensions of the sheaths required.[21]

5.7     The PedSALi research papers that Bill Courtney has unearthed to date[22] list SALi Technology patents as the only relevant prior art. No reference is made to the Nike patent US 626.65 or elastic Sumed cushions. It is difficult to believe that this was anything other than a deliberate act to deceive because the authors had copies of both SALi and Nike patent literature.

5.8     The authors breached commercial confidentiality by publishing the papers without giving prior notice to the lead partner for the PedSALi Project, i.e. Cheshire Innovation. (See Appendix 3 of Exhibit 10 for the relevant collaboration agreement clauses.)

5.9     None of Cheshire Innovation’s various roles in the PedSALi Project are acknowledged in the SAVIAC or SPIE papers.

5.10  Two of the papers were presented at the 75th SAVIAC Conference. The Principle Investigator attempted to have these papers published in the Proceedings of the 76th (sic) Conference without submitting the necessary release forms. The Programme Manager declined to publish without the necessary paper work being completed. (Exhibit 34)

5.11  Details of Cheshire Innovation’s involvement in the PedSALi Project have been removed from the PedSALi page on the EPSRC web site. (Exhibit 24)

5.12  According to Professor Rod Coombs, (in a letter to Cheshire Innovation dated 17 November 2006) the Principal Investigator is planning a further breach of commercial confidentiality by publishing a PedSALi Project journal paper, without informing the lead partner, Cheshire Innovation.

5.13  Cheshire Innovation has not signed any consent forms allowing the purported journal paper to be published.

5.14  Cheshire Innovation has attempted to find out if the EPSRC has been misled by the University, but the University has not released the relevant documents. (This is not intended as a criticism of the University Records Office, which appears to have used its best efforts to supply CI with the information requested.)

5.15  The biographical entry for S Olutunde Oyadiji, BSc PhD on the MACE page of the University web site details five journal papers published in 2005. This indicates that the entry was updated sometime during 2005. But, neither of the sections on conference papers lists the SAVIAC (Virginia Beach, VA, October 2004) or SPIE (San Diego, California, March 2005) PedSALi conference papers.

5.16  The research grant entries for S Olutunde Oyadiji include the following:

S O Oyadiji and J R Wright, Pedestrian Protection using Shock Absorbing Liquid Technology
(PEDSALi), DTLR/EPSRC/DOW Foresight Vehicle LINK programme. £224,010
(2001-2005).
This entry correctly states that CI’s Shock Absorbing Liquid Technology was the core technology being investigated. However, the lists of partners and stakeholders is incorrect, as there is one major omission, i.e. lead partner, Cheshire Innovation.

5.17         Is the University entirely confident that any claims for EPSRC funding for the PedSALi Project are for research that falls within the work plan agreed by Foresight and the EPSRC?

 

6                     The passing off took place against a broad background of deception and provocation

6.1                 Dow and CI were misled by the Principle Investigator’s promise that the first research assistant, Dr Zhu, would be provided with English lessons. (Exhibit 7)

6.2                 Dow and CI were misled  when the Principle Investigator supervised the design of a drop test rig 2.5 metres high (effective height 1.8 metres), while he paid lip service to the need for  a 6.5 metre high rig, to meet pending regulatory requirements. (Exhibit 19, page 4.)

6.3                 The Principle Investigator created a damaging atmosphere of secrecy and mistrust by insisting that neither of the research assistants should be given copies of the papers describing Bill Courtney’s background research to the PedSALi Project (Exhibit 18) until the papers were published. To the best of Bill’s knowledge, the papers were never published and the assistants never given copies.

6.4                 The Principle Investigator seems to have gone out of his way to create disharmony between Dr Zhu and the chief technician in the days after the death of the PedSALi technician, Mike Tillotson (10th September 2002) by provoking a dispute between them. Bill Courtney’s attempts to soothe the situation were ignored.  (Exhibit 19, first entry for page 6.)

6.5                 Dow air freighted materials for the PedSALi Project from Germany, paying for all the transport costs. Two very large boxes of these went missing from the Simon Building in January 2003. This incident occurred shortly after a series of attacks on the first PedSALi research assistant, Dr Zhu’s home.[23] Bill Courtney suspected either Dr Zhu was being intimidated, or someone was trying to sabotage the research. At a meeting with Dr Oyadiji and Professor Wright, 15th January 2003, Bill urged that the police and Dow be informed. This does not appear to have happened. Dow only became aware of the loss ten months later, when the University researchers surprised Dow by claiming Dow had not supplied sufficient materials. (Exhibit 44, Section 2.)

6.6                 Dow and CI were kept in the dark about the resignation of the first PedSALi research assistant. (Three meetings were held after he had handed in his resignation, where the partners were assured that all was going well and that Dr Zhu was making good progress. The truth came out when Bill Courtney discovered Dr Zhu booking a flight home to China.  Exhibit 7)

6.7                 Dow and CI were misled by Dr Turner’s claim that he could act in an independent capacity, because he did not declare his joint research interests with the Principal Investigator. (Exhibit 8)

6.8                 The research assistant for the CrashSALi Project was persuaded to transfer to the PedSALi work, without Bill Courtney being consulted or informed, even though Bill had invested considerable time and funds training the CrashSALi research assistant. (Exhibit 43)

6.9                 CI was misled by Dr Turner’s “compensation” offer, which Dr Turner later interpreted as an offer not to increase agreed contract fees. (Exhibit 8)

6.10              The Minutes of the PedSALi Progress 2 Meeting, 31st July 2003, had to be amended with Section 4.2 being added. This followed a complaint from Dow that their representative, Peter Cate, had falsely been blamed in his absence, for not supplying materials to the University partner.

6.11              Graham Brady MP and the SBS have been supplied with false information that CI has not responded to Sir Martin Harris’s arbitration offer. (Exhibits 15 and 16)

6.12              Issues surrounding CI’s denial of access to the #### report, at a time when it was circulating within the NW business community, remain unresolved. (Exhibit 25)

6.13              The tip-off from within the University, that representatives from at least one local business had held a meeting with Dr Oyadiji, in the belief that he had developed SALi Technology has never been refuted.

6.14              Dr Oyadiji makes a false claim on the University web site to be the first author of one of the patents Bill Courtney had written and won Smart funding for.

6.15              The CrashSALi Report tries to pass off research into SALi type suspension systems using corrosive engine oil and flimsy expanded polystyrene beads as a valid response to the contractually agreed use of non-corrosive hydraulic fluid and resilient closed cell foamed rubber beads. (Exhibit 10)

6.16              Somehow, senior personnel have been tricked into thinking that CI was a client, purchasing University services for its own private use, rather than a partner that had won funding on behalf of a legally binding partnership with the University. (Exhibit 2)

Appendix Two

Evidence of hostility towards the development of SALi Technology

Bill Courtney discovered the SALi Technology core concept in 1986. In order to accumulate the considerable funds required for patent protection, promotion and level one research he saved hard for ten years. After filing a patent application in late 1995, he went public with his invention.

During the early years of Bill’s association with VUM, SALi Technology attracted considerable media interest. It was featured on several television channels and local and national radio; in local and national newspapers, engineering magazines and New Scientist. A by-product of this public interest was that the Manchester School of Engineering received considerable free publicity.

In theory, Bill’s colleagues within the School also benefited: they won research funds that could be added to their CV’s and were named as joint authors of research papers and patent applications. A wide range of highly original EPSRC funded, industrial and inter-university research opportunities arose. (Exhibit 19, Appendix 2.)

However, the public interest in Bill’s work seems to have offered more threats than benefits. The cumulative evidence presented in this dossier suggests that while paying lip service to supporting the development of SALi Technology, there was an underlying hostility to it. The following table summarises the evidence to support this claim:

 

Opportunity to take action

Evidence of negative behaviour

1) Early in 1996, Manchester Business Link identified Dr Simon Wilson, a mathematician at VUM, as a suitable academic to help Bill Courtney develop SALi Technology. Dr Wilson was developing a mathematical model to predict the behaviour of gaseous lava flows. This was similar in many mathematical respects to SALi Technology. Dr Wilson contacted the Manchester School of Engineering for advice on data collection for his mathematical model of SALi. The outcome of Dr Wilson’s efforts was that Bill enrolled as an MPhil student, with Drs Oyadiji and Wilson as his first and second research supervisors. A test rig to collect the data was designed by Dr Oyadiji and subsequently built by the technicians.
(Millionaire in the making, article about Bill Courtney’s Business Link/ VUM relationships, Manchester Metro, October 30 1998, page 9.)

The impact test rig had two components: a hammer fitted with accelerometers and an anvil wired up to strain gauges. The senior technician warned that the anvil was far too rigid to produce measurable strain changes during impact. Dr Oyadiji was offended by this advice and insisted on the rig being built.

Two expensive accelerometers were broken, as the anvil was hit in a series of increasingly violent impacts, in an attempt to generate detectable strain changes. The rig was finally abandoned after protests from the technicians that accelerometers were being needlessly damaged, in a futile attempt to win an argument.

The “Oyadiji” rig has been kept in storage and can be produced as evidence, if required.

2) Based on advice from Dr Wilson, Bill Courtney built a second, simpler test rig.

The technicians were unwilling to risk the loss of another accelerometer, so an old instrument, of unknown calibration and job history had to be used.

The successful “Wilson” impact test rig has also been kept in storage, and can be compared with the failed “Oyadiji” rig.

Bill could not understand the data produced by the experiments. Neither Dr Wilson nor his Master’s degree student, Nicola, could understand the results. (Meeting in Simon Engineering Building, 21st July 1997.)

Dr Wilson suggested that the accelerometer was faulty, but Dr Oyadiji disagreed. A warm discussion between the two supervisors took place.

On 14 August 1997, Dr Wilson called in a fellow mathematician, Dr Allan (Surname unknown) who agreed that the accelerometer was probably faulty. Dr Oyadiji refused to concede to pleas from the mathematicians for the experiments to be repeated using a different accelerometer.

Frustrated, Dr Wilson withdrew from his role as second supervisor. (Exhibit 45 is a sample of Dr Oyadiji’s hand written arguments, trying to convince Dr Wilson et al, that they wrong) The loss of Dr Wilson’s supervisory input severely hampered Bill’s MPhil studies. Over a year was wasted, before Bill had learned sufficient engineering knowledge from the technicians, to spot when he was being lead astray by his remaining MPhil research supervisor.[24]

Five years later, Dr Wilson’s refusal to spend time trying to develop a mathematical model for SALi using the MPhil research data, was vindicated by informal peer review. Dr Nigel Mills (a crash /helmet accident expert witness) and Dr Andy Gilchrist, both from Birmingham University, gave Dr Oyadiji a blunt response to his explanation of the data curves. They offered expert advice on interpreting impact data, but this was declined. (Meeting at the Simon Engineering Building, 28 May 2002)

3) The first PedSALi research assistant, Dr Zhu, had very poor spoken English skills. Dow only agreed to his appointment on condition that he was provided with English lessons.

Bill Courtney visited Fielden Park College, met the tutors and found a course designed for Chinese students. (Fees £1,000.) But VUM reneged on its promise to fund lessons.  Exhibit 7

4) To have parity of esteem with his colleagues, Dr Zhu needed his own computer to work on.

Dr Zhu, Bill Courtney and Peter Cate (Dow) had to lobby the Principle Investigator (PI) for nine months before a computer was provided.    Exhibit 7

5) Dow monitored all their collaborative projects using Microsoft Project. Dr Zhu was supposed to update his progress weekly using this software, sending details to Dow.

In spite of regular complaints from Dow, the PI blocked the purchase of a copy of the software until well into the second year of Dr Zhu’s work.  (£35 per copy from Manchester Computing.) Exhibit 19

6) A drop test rig had to be built for the PedSALi research.

The PI blocked the use of UMIST equipment while a suitable rig was being built at VUM. Exhibit 19

7) The rig had to be 6.5 metre high to meet EU pedestrian friendly bumper test criteria.

The PI instructed Dr Zhu to build a reduced height rig, having an effective drop height of 1.8 metres. Exhibit 19

8) Quasi-static compression tests had to be performed on the SALi samples. The internationally recognised modern equipment for this work is an Instron machine.

 

The VUM Instron machine was broken. Instead of using one of the UMIST machines, heavy weights were manually loaded onto the samples.     Exhibit 19

9) Six months after Dr Zhu started work, there was clear evidence that he was suffering from depression and needed help.

Bill Courtney and Peter Cate (Dow) called for VUM intervention.

Emails from Bill Courtney and Peter Cate concerning DR Zhu’s health were initially ignored. A meeting with Bill to discuss the problem was only agreed after Bill contacted the Head of the School of Engineering and alerted the DfT, Foresight Vehicle. Exhibits 7, 19

10) The unpublished papers (Exhibit 18) reveal a unique feature of SALi devices: their hydraulic properties spread the pressure loading and reduce trauma during pedestrian impact. £7,000 of EPSRC funding had been allocated for the purchase of pressure sensors to explore this injury reduction feature in detail.

In the difficult days following the death (cycling traffic accident) of the technician allotted to PedSALi Project, the PI insisted on the sensors being made in-house. This required 40 hours of technician time. The technicians were very upset at the insensitivity shown towards them.     Exhibit 19

11) The senior technician advised that the sensors had to be made from spring steel, but VUM did not possess the machines to work this material.

The PI insisted on the sensors being made in-house, using mild steel. The senior technician warned that the budget cost design was flawed. He was proved correct: the sensors were made but were warped and never used. Exhibit 19

12) In the winter 2002-3, a number of incidents occurred that suggested Dr Zhu was being intimidated or the PedSALi Project sabotaged. Dr Zhu’s home, close to the University was attacked on 10 occasions and large boxes of materials, supplied by Dow for his work, went missing.

Bill Courtney urged the PI and his line manager, Professor Wright, to inform the police and Dow. There is no evidence that any action was taken.  Exhibits 19, 44and Zhu’s Resignation letter.

13) By June 2000, Bill Courtney had written up the foundation work for the PedSALi Project for publication in the Journal of Automobile Engineering. This explained in some detail how the “conflict of stiffness” problem that was baffling the automobile industry could be solved.

The PI blocked the publication of the papers.      In July 2001, the automobile manufacturers started lobbying the EU Commission, claiming the “conflict of stiffness” problem could not be solved. This resulted in watered down, less pedestrian friendly proposals being agreed by the EU in February 2003. Exhibit 18.

14) The first and second research assistants should have been building on the foundation work done by Courtney and written up in the auto papers.

The second author of the papers, who was also the PI, refused to allow the research assistants access to the papers until they had been published.

15) When Dr Zhu flew into Britain, September 11th 2001, to begin work as PedSALi research assistant, an opportunity for a fresh mind to be applied to the contentious development of SALi Technology at VUM should have emerged.

In reality, his spoken English was so poor; he could not take an active part in debates. His contributions relied on written statements and regular references to a Chinese-English technical dictionary. Until well into his second year, his ability to update Dow on his progress was hampered because he was denied access to a copy of Microsoft Project. All progress and technical enquiries from Dow had to be channelled through the Principle Investigator

16) Dr Zhu resigned two weeks after the EU Commission announced it’s watered down pedestrian friendly bumper requirements.         The PI had three face-to-face opportunities to inform CI and Dow of his resignation.

The PI failed to share this information. Instead, he reassured the partners that good progress was being made. Professor Wright was a witness at these meetings. The truth only emerged when Dr Zhu was discovered booking a flight home to China. Exhibit 7 is a formal complaint from Dow and CI regarding this deceit.

17) A replacement for Dr Zhu had to be found.

The PI secretly persuaded the research assistant for the CrashSALi work to take up the vacated post. This assistant had been trained up largely at Bill Courtney’s personal time and expense. Exhibit 43

18) In theory, an independent person, Dr Turner, emerged from within VUM. He offered dispute resolution skills to help save the rapidly failing PedSALi Project. He wrote to Dow and CI,
“I see my job as essentially similar to that of a referee, ensuring ‘fair play’ between the different parties, issuing ‘yellow and red cards’ should these be appropriate, and keeping the project on course to a successful outcome.” Exhibit 8

Dr Turner failed to declare an interest.

Dow and CI later discovered that his position was compromised because he was working with Dr Oyadiji on two externally funded projects.

In reality, Dr Turner’s intervention generated new problems.

19) Following Bill’s complaints concerning the manner in which the CrashSALi research assistant was transferred to the PedSALi work, Dr Turner made Bill Courtney a compensation offer.

To prevent expertise from UMIST being brought into the PedSALi Project, an ambiguity in the wording of the compensation offer was exploited. (For examples of protests on this matter see CI letters to Lisa Brinksman.)

20) The CrashSALi Project offered opportunities for VUM engineers to work with Professor Reid, UMIST, writing papers building on his crash protection crush tube research.

Essential photographs showing the deformed tubes, weight and fluid loss data was missing from the CrashSALi Project Report.                (See annotated report returned to Sir Martin Harris for details.)

21) The CrashSALi Project offered opportunities for a new generation of secondary action safety devices to be developed for road and rail transport systems.

Instead of purchasing standard hydraulic brake or clutch components, leaky units which were made in-house, were used for the CrashSALi research. Consequently, the results were worthless. (See annotated report returned to Sir Martin Harris for details.)

22) The CrashSALi Project offered opportunities for a new generation of low cost, light weight suspension units to be developed for electric vehicles, invalid buggies, bicycles etc. The Malaysian Rubber Producers Research Association (MRPRA) offered advice and supplied rubber foam for the work.

MRPRA warned that certain materials should not be used because they were physically or chemically weak. In spite of the warning, such materials were used for the research. (Samples of the foam supplied by MRPRA and the weak alternatives actually used were attached to the annotated report returned to Sir Martin Harris.)

23) The same SALi suspension system principles could be used to construct a new generation of gentle traffic calming road humps. These would contribute to road safety by being more socially acceptable and widely used.

SALi based road humps are discussed in the automobile journal papers that remain unpublished.

Exhibit 18

24) A good CrashSALi Report would have been a powerful marketing tool for CI.

A number of consumer issues arose because the report was not fit for purpose. These consumer issues should have been addressed.

Sir Martin Harris proposed an expensive peer review of the technical problems using the services of a mechanical engineer, approved by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. This distracted attention from the real issues because engineers have no legal standing as trading standards experts.

25) Exhibit 1 provides evidence that MIL had embarked on a marketing campaign to arouse commercial interest in the outcomes of a successful CrashSALi Project. A harmonious resolution would have financially benefited MIL and VUM, as well as CI.

A number of opportunities for resolving the CrashSALi issues have emerged.

Perversely, the University has acted against its own long term financial interests. Somehow, people have been tricked into making false statements concerning Bill Courtney’s professional conduct. These statements have formed the basis of defamatory letters written to Graham Brady MP and the Small Business Service. The faulty information in these letters subsequently formed the case for using Eversheds debt recovery services against Bill Courtney. Exhibits 15 and 16.

26) Tip-offs from within the University suggested that (i) a document (“The #### Report”) was circulating within the NW business community describing SALi Technology, and
(ii) as a result, at least one business enquiry had been made to the PI, under the impression that he had invented the Technology.  Neil Ferguson suggested that the V-C could help set the record straight, by sending Bill Courtney a copy of the #### Report.

The PI successfully objected to the V-C sending Bill Courtney a copy of the report.  Exhibit 25.

27) The watered down pedestrian friendly bumper requirements are only in force until December 2012. After this date, car bumpers that solve the “conflict of stiffness” problem will have to be installed on all new cars, assuming the technology has evolved to allow this. There is still hope that SALi Technology can be used to save lives and reduce crippling accident injuries.

The senior authors of the PedSALi research papers have gone to a great deal of trouble to “prove” that SALi Technology does not work. This has been done by passing off false research relating to soft, elastic walled cushions, (known to be ineffective impact absorbers), as research into firm, SALi type devices.  Exhibits 10, 11, 24, 34, 37, 38, 41.

28) On the 14th of March 2005, CI wrote to Eversheds warning,

“The University must accept full responsibility for any damage to its good name, resulting from its present course of action.”

The University has had two years in which to investigate the root cause of its actions and come to a discreet re settlement with CI.
It has not made any obvious efforts to do so.

29) A Collaboration Agreement was signed by VUM, Dow and CI at the beginning of the PedSALi Project. The confidentiality clauses (reproduced as Appendix 3, Exhibit 10) provided a 30 day period for any publication disputes to be sorted out, before contentious research issues entered the public domain.

The University has breached confidentiality, on at least two occasions, by publishing misleading PedSALi Project papers without giving the contractually agreed notice.

A discrete private settlement of the problems is no longer possible. This is because it would require the permanent deception of the international research community and the denial of public access to a potentially life saving technology.

30) The University has high ambitions for international recognition. Market research work done by MIL and CI suggested two high profile ways SALi Technology could contribute to achieving this goal.
(i) The First Lunar Settlement and
(ii) Reduced risk of vapour explosions in fuel tanks, using shock/cosmic radiation absorbing fuel. (This would have been superior to the foam systems currently being installed on Hercules aircraft in Afghanistan and Iraq, because it would also offer crash protection benefits.)

CI and MIL put considerable effort into drafting a NASA bid proposal and writing related patent applications. In spite of a positive response from NASA, their work came to nothing, because he PI failed to deliver his contribution to the paperwork.

CI patent: Exhibit 32                                      VUM patent application: S11.1, Exhibit 2

31) NESTA granted funds for Sue Darby, Pankhurst Fashion Designs, to work with CI and VUM. This was to develop a new class of soft, stylish headwear, to increase the number of cyclists’, horse riders, downhill skiers etc, wearing protective head gear.

Some of Sue’s designs are illustrated on the Cheshire Innovation web site, www.cheshire-innovation.com

The University of Newcastle “Gender and Ethnic Minority Issues in Science, Engineering and Technology Newsletter”, Winter 2006, records how Sue Darby was let down by VUM.

 

Supporting quotations

“It would be good when we get the money to sit down with Tunde and try and make it blatantly clear what the University’s obligations in this project are!”
                 Dr Michelle Cooper, MIL referring to the funding for the CrashSALi Project. Exhibit 5

 

“Eugenio did in fact mention to me that in my absence the finger was pointed at me concerning a number of issues. I am afraid this typifies the characters (or should I say character) we are dealing with at Manchester.”
                Peter Cate, Dow, referring to the VUM’s attempt to manipulate the truth, concerning Dow’s research requirements. Exhibit 39

 

“There have been a number of meetings (some acrimonious) at The Manchester School of Engineering at which the Department seems to have acted rather heavy-handedly.” Exhibit 28

“I think the transfer of the work to UMIST is a constructive suggestion.” Exhibit 27
           
Comments from Professor Steve Reid, who was concerned about the long term negative implications for the new University,
            if the PedSALi and CrashSALi Projects continued drifting towards failure.

 

“However, I received no publication release forms correlating to these papers. Thus, I am prohibited from including them in any proceedings.” Exhibit 34.

          Drew Perkins, SAVIAC Conference, Programme Manager, explaining why he refused to publish PedSALi papers, presented
          at the 75th SAVIAC Conference, in the Proceedings of the 76th (sic) SAVIAC Conference.

 

“I commend you for your determination and integrity.”

        Clair Curtis-Thomas MP PhD (Mechanical Engineering) Trade and Industry Select Committee.
       Private communication to Bill Courtney, 13th January 2006; referring to difficulties experienced with the PedSALi Project.

 

Appendix Three – Key personnel involved

Bill Courtney discovered the SALi Technology core concept in 1986. His relationship with the present University of Manchester is complicated because it involved five different roles:
(i) He enrolled as a mature, fifty year old MPhil student, at the Victoria University of Manchester (VUM) in 1996 and subsequently continuing to be a member of VUM, holding the post of Honorary Research Fellow. His academic contributions included writing research papers and patent applications.
(ii) He entered into a legally binding profit sharing partnership with VUM to commercialise SALi Technology.
(iii) He acted as the proxy applicant for Smart funding for the CrashSALi Project on behalf of the partnership.
(iv) The Department for Transport (DfT) appointed him, under his trading name of Cheshire Innovation, as the lead partner for the PedSALi Project. In this role, he had a contractual obligation to inform the DfT when the PedSALi Project fell behind schedule. This generated resentment from some VUM colleagues.
(v) He worked with UMIST engineers as a guest lecturer, helped develop student projects, and at the time of the amalgamation, was assisting in the bidding for funding for two SALi Technology research projects.

Dr Olutunde Oyadiji supervised Bill’s MPhil studies, collaborated on the writing of papers and was the Principle Investigator for the PedSALi and CrashSALi Projects.

Professor Jan Wright was Dr Oyadiji’s line manager and the second named investigator for the EPSRC funded work for the PedSALi Project.

Dr John Turner emerged from within VUM claiming to be an “independent person”, who could act as a chairman and referee, guiding the flagging PedSALi Project to a successful conclusion. His position was later discovered to be compromised because he shared close research ties with Dr Oyadiji.

Professor Steve Reid (UMIST), recognised that a failed PedSALi Project would be damaging to the new University. With the agreement of Dow Chemicals, the industrial partner for the PedSALi Project, and the strong support of Bill Courtney, the lead partner, he made an unsuccessful attempt to have the university research transferred to UMIST.

Dr John Harrigan, a member of Professor Reid’s research team, who worked closely with Bill Courtney.

Peter Cate of Dow Chemicals Auto Division initiated the PedSALi Project after learning of SALi Technology through the media. In spite of attempts by VUM personnel  to stain his good name, Bill Courtney testifies that Peter fulfilled all his agreed obligations to the PedSALi Project and behaved ethically and professionally at all times.

Eugenio Toccalino, a Dow engineer who pointed out that the VUM research was going astray because the SALi devices were incorrectly packaged. Also, via a telephone link, he overheard and noted false statements being made about his Dow colleague Peter Cate.

Dr Xinquin Zhu, the first research assistant for the PedSALi Project. He was a good engineer, but he struggled due to lack of support and very poor spoken English. After losing interest in his work, attacks on his Manchester home and his father becoming ill, he resigned and returned home to China.

(Dr) George Geogiadis was one of Dr Oyadiji’s PhD students. While completing the writing up of his PhD thesis, he worked as the first CrashSALi Project research assistant. Later, after being trained by Bill Courtney, he replaced Dr Zhu, as the PedSALi Project research assistant.
George was in a very difficult position because he relied on the support of his supervisor to gain his PhD. His professional integrity should not be questioned because of his unlucky association with the SALi research.

### ####, a VUM engineering graduate, who, quite innocently, became involved in promoting SALi Technology as a VUM centred invention.

Dr Michelle Cooper and her colleagues at Manchester Innovation Limited (MIL) worked hard in a highly professional manner, attempting to help commercialise SALi Technology. MIL’s efforts were wasted because they were let down by colleagues in the Manchester School of Engineering.

 


[1] Bill Courtney eventually overcame the height problem by converting the rig into a giant bungee cord catapult. He acquired the high quality elastic cord at no cost to VUM. Although Bill’s contribution is recorded in the PedSALi Meeting Minutes, his upgrade work is not acknowledged in the published paper, where the catapult design is described.

[2] Dow’s concerns were justified as the PedSALi Project fell ever further behind schedule. Meanwhile on 19 February 2003, the EU agreed to water down its pedestrian friendly bumper requirements.

The original University Research Assistant for the PedSALi Project, Dr. X. Zhu, resigned two weeks later.

CI asserts that Dr. X. Zhu used his best efforts and behaved in a professional manner at all times and is in no way responsible for the failure of the PedSALi Project.

 

[3] Professor Horsfall’s Defence Technology (MSc) students have demonstrated that stout polythene bags filled with a water based SALi mixture remained undamaged when 1 lb (454 grams) plastic explosive charged were exploded 1.0 metres above the bags. In comparison, explosives experts estimated that the 200 grams of plastic explosive smuggled aboard an aircraft by the infamous “shoe bomber”, Richard Reid, could have brought the aircraft down. In other experiments it has been demonstrated that SALi devices sandwiched between steel sheets, mimicking the floor pans of vehicles, can significantly reduce the shrapnel and blast damage inside the vehicle. [Work illustrated in Exhibit 21.] Roadside bombs are the main cause of death foe British troops stationed in Iraq.

The attempts of a small number of Manchester University personnel to save face, by suppressing the development of SALi Technology has international implications in the war on terrorism.

[4] Four members of MIL, Dr Michelle Cooper, Allan Prits, Torsten Schanze and Daniel Syder worked hard trying to bring the commercial promise of the CrashSALi Project to reality. Unfortunately for all concerned, their work was wasted when the project collapsed. The excellent work done by MIL is acknowledged by CI in a letter to Sir Martin Harris. This acknowledgement is reproduced at the foot of the second page of Exhibit 6.

[5] Dr Turner claimed that he could act in an independent capacity, as stated in paragraph one of Exhibit 8, because he only had weak work links with Dr Oyadiji. This was taken on trust by Dow and CI at the time, but subsequent internet searches revealed the weak link claim to be false. Two joint research projects were discovered,

(i) S O Oyadiji, A Y T Leung and J T Turner, Optimisation of High Energy Loss Valve Trims using CFD, EPSRC/ Hopkinson (EngD award). £64,000 (1998-2002)

(ii) J T Turner and S O Oyadiji, New Valve Testing Rig, Hopkinson Ltd. £35,500 (2000-2002)

 

After this discovery and other incidents which suggested the chairman was championing the interests of VUM at the expense of the PedSALi Project, Dow withheld representatives from face-to-face meetings at the University. Please see Minutes of PedSALi group meetings following the introduction of Dr Turner for verification.

[6] Engineers at VUM seem to have recognised Elsa Palamidi’s talent, because Dr Oyadiji subsequently contacted Elsa, to persuade her to join the VUM engineers at a pay rate that was financially attractive. It is understood that Elsa declined the offer.

[7] Dr Zhu’s final round of experiments, before he left VUM, were proposed by Bill Courtney, to provide an independent check on Courtney’s preliminary research, (Exhibit 18) to verify the “conflict of stiffness” solving properties of SALi devices. Unfortunately, the Principle Investigator barred Dr Zhu from the laboratory on insurance grounds, before he could complete his work. He completed one experiment before being barred. The results, which were encouraging, are reproduced as Figure 3 in Exhibit 11.

[8] At the 10th Formal PedSALi meeting, 29 September 2003, chaired by Dr Turner, Bill Courtney protested that Dr Turners manner had been intimidating, at the meeting held 31 July 2003.

In response, the chairman stated that, “I was not intimidating. When I give people a real bollocking, they don’t know what’s hit them for two days.”

This response, which falls somewhat short of a full denial, was witnessed by representatives from the Department for Transport, Foresight Vehicle, MIL and three other members of VUM. Please see Minutes for full names. No representatives from UMIST or Dow were present.

The University records will show that no Dow representative visited the University or made a face to face appearance at any subsequent PedSALi meeting. Dow continued to be absent, in spite of Dr Turner’s frequent appeals for a visit or an attendance

[9] In contrast, the preferred UMIST researcher Elsa Palamidi was well aware that UMIST was working with CI seeking funding for other applications of SALi Technology (Exhibits 22 and 23). Doing a good job and delivering data urgently needed by Dow (Ref. Exhibit 12, Appendix 1) would put her in a strong position to secure future employment.

[10] The Department for Transport (DfT) formally wound up the PedSALi Project 22 July 2004. However, Dr Turner refused to accept this and attempted to convene a PedSALi Project Management Meeting for 19 August 2004. Representatives from the DfT, Foresight Link, Dow and CI were invited to attend. None did.

[11] The royalty sharing agreement between CI and VUM would have carried forward to the new University. According to Dow, a successful PedSALi Project alone would have brought royalties of about $(US) 0.5 million, rising to 2.5 million per year. (See page 2 of Dow/CI letter to Dr Oyadiji reproduced as Exhibit 7)

A dispute would be convenient to certain parties, because it would hide that fact that this income generating opportunity had been lost.

 

[12] CI wrote to Professor Alan Gilbert, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, 11th March 2006 in a second attempt to obtain a copy of the de Leonibus report. A response from the Records Manager, 7 April 2006, revealed that a trail of documents within the University, relating to the report had been unearthed, but no copies of the actual document itself could be found.

[13] The following rwo quotes are taken from an interview with the Director of Traffic Safety at Sweden’s National Road Administration:

“The World Health Organisation predicts that the number of traffic deaths worldwide each year, currently 1.2 million will increase by 65% by 2020 to make it the third biggest cause of death around the globe,”

“A colleague from the Transport Research Laboratory in the UK says that many deaths could be avoided by restructuring the front bumper to absorb energy and reduce the chances of leg breakage.” [Zero tolerance for road slaughter, New Scientist, 30 July 2005, p 44, 45.]

[14] A letter from Professor Rod Coombs, dated 17 November 2006, informs CI that a third breach of confidentiality, the publication of a journal paper, is planned. The technical merits of the journal paper are unknown to CI, because it has not been sent a copy.

[15] “Passing off” is discussed in the LIBERTY Guide to Human Rights on the following web page http://www.yourrights.org.uk/your-rights/chapters/right-of-free-expression/copyright-and-allied-property-rights/copyright-and-passing-off.shtml

 

[16] For example, Figure 8.2, “Preliminary investigations into he mechanical properties and potential applications of a novel shock absorbing liquid” MPhil thesis, W. A. Courtney, supervisor Dr O. Oyadiji VUM, 1998. This is reproduced as part of Exhibit 45.

[17] The original collaboration agreement between Dow, VUM and CI terminated 31 March 2003, with the project being formally wound up by the Department for Transport over a year later. The papers were presented after the windup date, but are still covered by the confidentiality clauses, which remain in force until 31 March 2008.

[18] Courtney, W.A. Device incorporating elastic fluids and viscous damping, World Intellectual Property Organisation, WO 97/25551 (1997), Courtney, W.A. Improved impact absorber with viscous damping, World Intellectual Property Organisation, PCT/GB98/03594 (1998), Courtney, W.A. Impact absorbent building structures, British Patent Office, GB9805887.8 (1998)

 

[19] “A novel Shock Absorbing Liquid composite with potential for automotive engineering applications” Parts 1 and 2. W. A. Courtney and S. O. Oyadiji

[20] The Minutes of the 10th Formal PedSALi Meeting, 29 September, 2003, record in Section 6,

“The SALi beam experiments included two interacting, unknown variables, the energy absorbed in stretching the Covelle packaging and the compression of the SALi. This prevented the precise contribution of the SALi being identified. Eugenio also pointed out that the two unknown variable experimental arrangement did not mimic the boundary conditions under a bumper facia.”

 

[21] It is probable that peer pressure from more senior colleagues and fellow authors, induced the second research assistant to carry out the false research. At that time, he was writing up his PhD thesis, supervised by Dr Oyadiji.

[22] SAVIAC Virginia Brach, VA,  17-22 October 2004

CHARACTERISTICS OF DEFORMABLE CYLINDRICAL BEAMS FILLED WITH A SHOCK ABSORBING COMPOSITE .

Dr. S Olutunde , University of Manchester, Dr. George Georgiades, University of Manchester, Dr. Xinqun Zhu, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Prof. Jan Wright, University of Manchester

CORE PROPERTY CHARACTERIZATION FOR A SHOCK ABSORBING COMPOSITE.

Dr. S Olutunde, University of Manchester, Dr. George Georgiades, University of Manchester, Dr. Xinqun Zhu, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Prof. Jan Wright, University of Manchester

 

SPIE, San Diego, California, 7-10 March 2005

IMPACT RESPONSE OF FLEXIBLE CYLINDRICAL TUBES FILLED WITH A SHOCK ABSORBING COMPOSITE

G. Georgiades, O. Oyadiji, J. Wright, J. T. Turner, Univ. of Manchester (United Kingdom

[23] For verification, please see Dr Zhu’s resignation letter to the Principal Investigator, 3rd March 2003.

[24]Bill Courtney had to continue his MPhil research using the suspect accelerometer. An alternative instrument became available in 1998, when a PhD student, Michael Amprikidis, hand crafted an accelerometer for Bill. This produced sensible data patterns, but by then, Dr Wilson had moved on. The Amprikidis accelerometer and the “Wilson” test rig were used to demonstrate that the car bumper “ £conflict of stiffness” problem could be solved and  for the research described in the unpublished automobile engineering papers. (Exhibit 18.)

 

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