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