Revealed: Bristol’s million-pound partnership with a nuclear weapons company.
Bristol has received £1.3 million in funding from The Atomic Weapons Establishment to do scientific research for them. The news comes just months after students protested against the presence of BAE Systems at the Careers Fair.
The nuclear arms company is running a ‘technical outreach’ program with Bristol University to fund a professorship, PhD programs and research projects. In return, Bristol scientists do their research.
The AWE is even allowed to give seminars, workshops and other teaching in Science departments at the university. They wield their influence in physics, engineering and computing departments and they’ve been pumping money into Bristol for the past five years.
The Atomic Weapons Establishment is a private company that builds Britain’s nuclear weapons. It’s in charge of Trident (the £100 billion ballistic submarine missile) and it’s been used by the Ministry of Defence for the past 60 years.
The university says it has “strategic alliances” with AWE and is “keen to pursue” its work for them. They say the research is valuable because some of it is about safe operations and storage of nuclear materials.
Pete Wilkinson, director of anti-nuclear group NIS, says the alliance is also about recruiting graduates into nuclear weaponry. “AWE values its academic outreach programme as much for the acceptance it buys for AWE’s own scientists in reputable academic circles as for its scientific findings. We aim to warn scientists of the risks of being seduced into murky waters by the lure of AWE’s cash.”
The AWE also funds research at Cambridge, Imperial College London, Heriot-Watt Cranfield Universities. Between 2010 and 2012, they gave £7.7 million in funding to universities. They also privately sponsor student degrees and they’re currently targeting secondary schools to find a winner for their Young Scientist Of The Year competition.
Meanwhile, they’re advertising for graduates to work for them, saying “there is simply no comparison with AWE when it comes to investment, stability and long-term prospects for graduates.”