Nine Russell Group universities still have links with arms dealers

More than a third of the Russell Group have either taken money or invested in arms trade firms over the past five years, it can be revealed.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that nine of the 24 Russell Group members have received money from or held investments in arms companies despite such financing arrangements coming under intense scrutiny in recent years.

Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Queen Mary London, the London School of Economics and the Imperial College London all confirmed they have received funds from or held investments in arms companies.

The research came with the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair at the ExCeL centre in East London. 

Imperial College London received £11 million in research and consultancy fees since 2016/17, while holding £1.5 million worth of shares in General Electric. The University of Oxford admitted it had taken over £10.5 million on research and consultancy funding since 2015/16.

Bristol £22,816,462.57 in research and consultancy funding since 2017/18
Cardiff£848,823 in research and consultancy funding since 2016/17
DurhamInvestments in 17 companies that offer military contracts
Imperial College London11,085,903.20 in research and consultancy funding since 2016/17 and £1,558,605 worth of shares in General Electric
Manchester£9,249,761 in research and consultancy funding since 2016/17
NottinghamPension investments in five companies and share investments in Smiths Group until the second quarter of 2021
Oxford£10,772,145.37 in research and consultancy funding since 2015/16
Queen Mary London£179,898 in funding for projects which were completed between 2017 and 2020
London School of EconomicsInvestments in General Eelectric capital between 2017 and 2020

Melina Villeneuve, a founder at Ded_ucation, condemned the annual arms fair: “Seeing tanks, military helicopters, and warships outside the ExCel centre is a stark reminder of the strange privilege we have in this country to not be on the receiving end of both the military industrial complex and unnecessary wars.”

“Bright, young minds should have nothing to do with companies that sell billions of pounds of weapons to aggressors across the world.” 

Universities of Nottingham, Oxford and Manchester have defended their involvement with arms dealers to HuffPost.

“All research finders must first pass ethical scrutiny and be approved by the University’s Committee to Review Donations and Research Funding. This is a robust, independent system, which takes legal, ethical and reputational issues into consideration,” said a spokesperson from the University of Oxford.

Photograph: South Korean Defence Military