UK: Universities in bed with the military

Universities in the United Kingdom may be doing far more research for the military than official estimates acknowledge, according to a report released last week. Scientists for Global Responsibility, a Folkestone-based group that campaigns against military spending, says that of 13 universities surveyed, 12 received an average of around £2.4 million (US$4.7 million) each to conduct military and security-related research between 2005 and 2006, reports Nature News. Some received as much as £5 million.

The figures contrast sharply with the group's estimate of an average of £400,000 per UK university based on the official 2004 figure of a total of £44 million defence-related research grants across all UK universities. "Our analysis leads us to ask whether government statistics in this area are as reliable as they should be," the study says.

The lack of cooperation by university officials during the study was as disturbing as the actual figures, says Chris Langley, a consultant for Scientists for Global Responsibility, who compiled the report with his colleagues, Nature News continues. Vice-chancellors and other senior university personnel refused to speak about the money, and researchers receiving military funding were half as likely to respond to the group's survey compared with other researchers, he says. Langley says that he would like to see "safeguards and standards" that would help regulate university money coming from defence sources.
Full report on the Nature News site