Oxford profits from arms research

first_imgOxford is receiving sponsorship contracts from arms companies worth at least £19 million, a report published last week has revealed.The report, Study War No More, was published jointly by the Campaign Against Arms Trade and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and looked at the contracts of 26 universities between 2001 and 2006.Oxford has received funding for 124 projects, the third most of any of the universities surveyed. It has received the 8th largest amount of money.Daniel Lowe, OUSU Environment and Ethics Officer, said the funding could contradict OUSU’s campaign for Socially Responsible Investment. He said, “Some years ago, OUSU began a campaign for socially responsible investment. The committee doesn’t ban investments per se, but provides a framework for removing unethical investments without harming the University’s revenue. What is ethical will be determined by committee policy, but the arms trade is one of the most likely contenders to be included.”Rolls Royce and QinetiQ are amongst the University’s top research sponsors. Their business interests include the study of marine electrical systems, development of fuel systems, and defence and security.In the past, they have worked with Oxford to investigate the properties of nickel alloys and contributed to research of computational fluid dynamics. Along with research grants, arms companies were found to have sponsored a number of bursaries, industrial placements and careers fairs.In 2005 the University laid out the benefits of the funding when announcing a collaboration with QinetiQ. A spokesperson said, “University and the company [will be] working together to identify areas of common technological interest. The partnership will allow QinetiQ to access the science and technology expertise of Oxford, and maintain an active involvement in its research innovations.”A spokesperson for the University stressed that the companies are not necessarily military ones, saying, “The legitimacy of the report relies entirely on whether its definition of ‘military’ projects is sound.”According to one analysis, the Ministry of Defence is in need of new weapons and University research is instrumental to the development of these.Professor Hartley of York University’s Centre for Defence Economics said, “Production of such weapons requires both research and development. Research precedes development and generates new technical knowledge… Development involves engineering design, manufacture and testing which might result in the eventual production of the equipment for the Armed Forces.”by Omotola Akerelelast_img read more

Coffee shop growth shows no sign of slowing

first_imgThe UK branded coffee shop market has grown at a rate seven times faster than the British economy, according to a new study.The latest annual report by management consultants Allegra Strategies, which includes a national survey of 25,000 consumers, revealed the total UK coffee shop market grew by 7.5% in 2012 to reach £5.8 billion in turnover.The market, which includes branded coffee chains, independent coffee shops and non-specialist operators, grew to 15,723 outlets. The total number of coffee shop outlets grew by 4% over the past year.The three leading chains in the UK are Costa with 1,552 outlets, Starbucks with 757 and Caffè Nero who currently have 530. Combined, they now command a 54% combined share of the branded coffee chain market.The study also found that consumers were gravitating to brands they trust, which has added to the pressure on weak mid-sized chains and low quality independent shops who are slowly fading out of the market. Good artisan independents, however, were thriving, according to Allegra.Jeffrey Young, managing director, Allegra Strategies, said: “The UK coffee shop market continues to astound even the most optimistic of forecasters by growing significantly in value, in outlet numbers and also in the social psyche of the nation. Britain has become a ‘new nation of coffee drinkers’.”High quality ‘artisan’ independent coffee shops are also fuelling consumer demand and driving the branded coffee shop sector to increase focus on authentic interiors, barista technique and to introduce a wider range of crafted coffees such as flat white and cortado.”Out of the 25,000 consumers Allegra interviewed, 49% said that they are maintaining their coffee shop visits compared with last year. One in five consumers surveyed now visit coffee shops daily, compared with one in nine in 2009.However, Allegra’s 2012 report does highlight some trading down behaviour as consumers attempt to save money by purchasing less food in coffee shops, and switching from high end independents down to mass appeal branded chains.Allegra estimates that the UK has the potential to host well over 8,000 branded coffee shops and potentially beyond 10,000.last_img read more