I want to bring this to people's attention as I have, shall we say, a bee in my bonnet about the way the UK's education at all levels is being restructured and tailored towards corporate and militarty demands. the latest development is posted below, I will follow soon with some information on the Academy scheme, and if you feel like reading my chapter (ahem, self promotion) mentioned in a previous blog, it has details on some of the corporate involvement in Universities that places huge question marks on objectivity and balance.
Given the recent exchange concerning Lockheed Martin being involved with the next UK census, you might be interested in Behind Closed Doors, published today by Scientists for Global Responsibility, is the result of an in-depth investigation into 16 of Britain’s universities, including some of the most prestigious.Using new data gained under the Freedom of Information Act, we estimate that the average level of military funding of UK universities is up to five times larger than government figures suggest. (1)
The report also reveals the pervasive extent of the military influence in UK universities. We encountered significant disquiet among some university staff about the growing presence of military and commercial influences on campus, and their effect on the research agenda. The report highlights how, since 2002, new military research groups have sprung up in universities supported by publicly-funded research councils, military corporations and the Ministry of Defence. The expansion of such groups has been accelerated by the 2006 Defence Technology Strategy.
The UK is the world’s third biggest spender on military research and development, approximately £2.5 billion net expenditure by the Ministry of Defence alone in 2005/6. (2) The military targets ‘high-prestige’ universities for the highest funding, thus diverting some of Britain’s finest scientists away from crucial areas such as health and the environment into military research.
The report’s authors call for a full public debate on the role of the military in UK universities. They are Dr Chris Langley, an independent scientific consultant and writer; Dr Stuart Parkinson, an ex-military sector electronic engineer and former expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and Dr Philip Webber, who has written widely on science and military issues, previously a research scientist at London’s Imperial College.
Chris Langley said “The creeping influence of the military establishment in our universities is deeply disturbing. We encountered secrecy, evasiveness and a lack of accountability while researching this report. Many university officials expressed concerns about military funding but were afraid to speak out. There must be complete transparency if public confidence in science is to be maintained”.
Universities investigated were Birkbeck College London, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, Imperial College London, Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan, Newcastle, Oxford, Plymouth, Sheffield, Southampton, University College London, and the West of England.
Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) is an independent organisation of ethically-concerned science, design and technology professionals, founded in 1992 – see:
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For further information, contact SGR at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or 01303 851965