The University has received nearly £6 million from arms firms over the past three years, according to the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).
From 1st April 2009 to 17th May 2012, the University was awarded £722,218.07 by the Ministry of Defence, £243,016.00 by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), £4,975,213.99 by Rolls Royce PLC, and £50,093.00 by QinetiQ Limited.
A Freedom of Information request also revealed that the University does not currently receive funding from BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest defence manufacturer. However, Dr Chris Fell, Principal Consultant Engineer at BAE Systems, is quoted on the University’s website saying that Nottingham is the company’s ‘ideal partner’.
University departments benefiting most from this funding are the Department of Mechanical Materials, Manufacturing, Engineering & Management, the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, and the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
UoN is not alone in accepting funding from companies associated with the arms trade. CAAT revealed that between 2001 and 2006, more than 1,900 military projects were conducted in the 26 British universities (including Nottingham) covered by the research.
CAAT estimates that these military projects added up to a minimum income of £725 million for the named universities.
Transparency International, an international corruption monitoring organisation, emphasises that the international arms trade is one of the three most corrupt industries in the world.
BAE Systems, Europe’s largest defence company, agreed to pay fines of up to $79 million to the US government for breaking military export rules in May 2011. The company had previously been forced to pay fines amounting to $450 million to the US and UK as a result of corrupt defence contracts agreed with Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
In February 2012, the Ministry of Defence admitted that it had sold arms to undemocratic governments with poor human rights records.
In light of this, CAAT wants universities to adopt more ethical investment policies that they believe should exclude the arms trade. According to CAAT, projects funded by arms companies permit the influence of ‘military organisations…[within] university departments.’
A UoN spokesperson addressed the claims, stating: “This is not a true representation of research taking place at Nottingham. The University does not support or seek to support, directly or indirectly, the trade of arms. This is borne out by the projects listed on the website, which are for research to improve engines, electrical systems, composite materials, and so on – rather than weapons.
“The characterisation of University staff as being involved in weapons research is wrong – little, if any, research funded at the university is directly military in nature.
“As a leading research institution, the University works in close collaboration with many large companies on the development of the latest technologies. The work we do with companies such as Rolls Royce and BAE Systems is not on the development of technologies for military applications but innovation that will help to improve the quality of civilian life, such as improved safety or reducing the environmental impact of jet engines.
“It is also worth noting that the university has a long track-record of helping organisations such as the Open Society Institute and the UNESCO PEACE Programme.”