A new FOI request has revealed that the University of Sheffield received at least £72 million from arms trade since 2012.
The news comes less than a month after the student occupation of The Diamond building, where masked students protested against the university’s involvement with arms companies.
In a Twitter statement, Sheffield Action Group called on the university to cut ties with arms companies and prevent ‘war criminals’ from being ‘on campus or in careers fairs’.
The FOI request revealed that the university had established non and semi-financial relationships with arms companies, including inviting them to employability and recruitment events, poster research presentations and student mentoring.
In a recent Members’ Question, Councillor Minesh Parekh urged Sheffield City Council to coordinate promoting local and ethnical employers and employment opportunities to both universities in the city.
Coun Parekh, who sits on the Council’s economic development and skills committee, said: “There are ways to build a productive economy without sacrificing our ethics. There is a way to run a university and generate knowledge to benefit humanity, rather than develop frightful means of destruction.
“Our universities and colleges have a public duty to promote careers in professions that advance social, economic and climate justice. Following this revelation, I will be reaching out to each institution to see how the city can deliver careers for our graduates that better prepare us for tomorrow’s world.”
The FOI request has also shown that the University of Sheffield has received significant year-on-year investment from firms such as BAE Systems, GKN and Boeing.
🚨 WE HAVE OCCUPIED THE DIAMOND!— Sheffield Action Group (@sheffaction) October 24, 2022
UoS must cut ties with the arms companies Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and Boeing.
❌No war criminals on campus or in careers fairs ❌ pic.twitter.com/0jSc7bT2KL
Since 2012-13, the University of Sheffield has received over £8.5 million alone from BAE Systems, who were recently exposed to have supported the Saudi government’s devastating attacks on Yemen.
During the 2016 attacks on Yemen, the company said: “The Royal Saudi Air Force has achieved high utilisation and aircraft availability across its Typhoon and Tornado fleets, operating under demanding conditions.”
Coun Parekh added: “We want to build Sheffield as a powerhouse for clean growth, and to lead our fight for a better world. Sheffield University, established through the penny donations of working-class people to benefit working-class people, should be leading that endeavour.”
Sheffield Action Group claimed in October that between 2013 and 2021, the University of Sheffield received nearly £47 million from companies involved in arms manufacture, including Rolls Royce and BAE systems.
FOI figures show that the University had received over a third more than the group’s original claim.
A spokesperson from the University of Sheffield, said: “The University has a wide range of research, development and learning partnerships that work to further innovation, provide opportunities for students and find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
“Our connections with industrial partners mean we can help to influence positive change and accelerate more sustainable manufacturing practices – making things faster, cheaper and greener to support our regional and national economy. For example, our work in high-performance lightweight materials has led to the production of lighter, more fuel-efficient cars and planes.
“We have a code of ethics for all of our research and innovation, which ensures there is rigorous governance in place.
“We are also committed to providing our students with information about a wide range of organisations offering placements and graduate jobs at our careers fairs, so they can make personal informed decisions about their future careers.”