A NEW report by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and Demilitarise Education (dED) reveals that privatisation, the academic funding crisis, and commercialisation of universities has led to growing ties between the military, arms companies and academia.

It shows how academic expertise is being used to develop military and dual use technologies, through the funding of research and dedicated research centres by the arms industry and/or the Ministry of Defence and other parts of the UK security establishment.

The report, Weaponising Universities: Research collaborations between UK universities and the Military Industrial Complex, also highlights how academic research is being used to greenwash the arms industry. A key area of research examined in the report is ‘Militarised Environmental Technologies’ – technologies that seek to reduce the environmental impact of military activities, but which are also used to gain military advantage, and as a propaganda tool to make the fundamentally unsustainable business of war appear more sustainable.

Weaponising Universities discusses opposition within universities and academia to this militarisation, and suggests ways in which universities might pursue research aimed at promoting peace and global disarmament, including the economic alternatives to arms production. A set of recommendations are made, both for universities themselves, and for students and academics seeking to challenge the weaponisation of their universities.

Report author Okopi Ajonye said: “Since industry, along with universities, are on the frontlines of scientific and technological innovation, the military heavily depends on universities for research and development into military and dual-use products. Therefore, universities are a key foundation of the contemporary military-industrial complex.”

Emily Apple, CAAT’s Media Coordinator said: “This is a vitally important report that exposes the huge level of investment universities receive from the arms industry. These ties between academia and this trade in death and destruction must be severed. Instead of greenwashing weapons manufacturers, universities should be investing in research that actually helps us tackle the climate crisis we are all facing.”

Jinsella Kennaway, Demilitarise Education Co-Founder and Executive Director said: “Universities’ capacity should support international peace building rather than self destructive military persuasion.”

The report presents three case studies: Imperial College London, Southampton University, and Lancaster University, with detailed information on their various research links with the arms industry.

* Read Weaponising Universities  Research collaborations between UK universities and the Military Industrial Complex here.

* Sources: Campaign Against Arms Trade and Demilitarise Education