Universities accepting millions from arms companies

By staff writers
4 Dec 2007

A report published today (Tuesday) has revealed that 26 top UK universities have received contracts for at least £725 million over six years in sponsorship by arms companies and public military bodies.

The new report, Study War No More, looks at each university between 2001 and 2006 and uncovers over 1,900 projects funded in this way.

It is written by Tim Street and Martha Beale and published jointly by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

Examples of military projects include a scheme researching unmanned aerial vehicles over ten universities, funded jointly by BAE and public sources, which is run by a university professor and a project manager from BAE.

In addition to research projects, arms companies were found to have sponsored numerous courses, bursaries, industrial placements and careers fairs.

Co-author Martha Beale said: "It was a huge struggle to unearth this information, due to a lack of transparency at many universities and the secretive nature of the arms trade. We were staggered to discover the depth of military involvement in higher education. It raises crucial questions about research funding and academic independence. It is vital that students, university staff and the general public tackle the alarming influence of military money."

Over two-thirds of identified military projects involved three leading UK arms companies - BAE, Rolls Royce and QinetiQ.

The universities conducting the most military projects were (in descending order) Cambridge, Loughborough, Oxford, Southampton and University College London.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade. The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) is an international spiritually-based movement of people who commit themselves to active nonviolence as a way of life and as a means of personal, social, economic and political transformation.

The 26 universities considered were: Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cranfield, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Imperial College London, King's College London, Leeds, Liverpool, Loughborough, London School of Economics, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Queens' University Belfast, Sheffield, Southampton, Swansea, University College London, Warwick and York.

They includes all members of the Russell Group of elite UK universities, along with six others selected due to particular relevance and/or geographical balance.

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