Combat and the Campus: Launch of Report on Nuclear weapons research at Britain's universities

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Event date(s): 
12/02/2014 - 17:30 to 13/02/2014 - 18:45

Atoms for Peace logo Register here for the launch of the Atoms for Peace report.

Atoms for Peace is a ground-breaking investigation into links between the Atomic Weapons Establishment – where the UK's nuclear weapons are designed and made – and British universities.

The study has found that more than fifty universities – over one third of all British universities – have received funding from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), with AWE's 'Technical Outreach' programme with universities mainly supporting scientific research in the physics, materials science, high performance computing, modelling, and manufacturing disciplines.  

Although much of this work qualifies as 'blue skies' research which is not aimed at any particular application, some of it is considered to have 'dual use' potential -  the capability to be used for both benign, peaceful purposes and military purposes contributing to the development of weapons of mass destruction.  The published aims of AWE's Technical Outreach programme clearly show that the Establishment's collaboration with universities is directly intended to allow AWE to maintain its capability as the UK's centre of expertise for military nuclear science.

However, the study concludes that as well as contributing to AWE's scientific research programmes, academic collaboration also plays an important role in helping to increase the perception of AWE as a reputable scientific institution, as well as providing a pool of graduate recruits for staff posts at AWE and allowing the Establishment to draw on expertise and facilities at universities to support its work.

Limited information is publicly available from official sources on research funded by AWE in UK universities, and publication of this study is believed to be the first time that information on this topic has been collected and subjected to open scrutiny

From Nuclear Information Service and Medact: Register here for the launch of the Atoms for Peace report.

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