Defence funding for Computer Science Department

The request was partially successful.

Dear University College London,

Please can you provide me with a list of all research projects
funded by:
- The Ministry of Defence, including the Defence Science
and Technology Laboratory (DSTL);
- BAE Systems plc;
- Thales Group;
- Raytheon UK;
- Northrup Grumman;
- Lockheed Martin;
- and / or QinetiQ Group plc
conducted at University College London's Computer Science department between 1 September 2017 to 31 July 2021.

I would be grateful if you could list each individual research project, along with its funding source and amount.

If such a request exceeds my FOI cost, can you please take each academic year (starting with the 2020/2021 year) and work backwards?

Yours faithfully,

EJ Curran-Ross

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

If you have submitted a Freedom of Information request please accept this
email as acknowledgement that your request has been received. You should
expect a response from us within 20 working days. 
“You will appreciate that all information requests place some degree of
demand on a public authority’s resources in terms of costs and staff time
and that UCL may need to prioritise resources to other areas, or adapt its
usual approach to information compliance work, in order to meet the
unprecedented challenges we are all facing during the Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.

 

Therefore, we need to advise you may experience delays in receiving
responses to information rights requests during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic.”

 

For details on how we use your personal information, please see UCL's
general privacy
notice: [1]www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/privacy/general-privacy-notice
Data Protection & FOI
Legal Services
UCL

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Dear University College London,

I made a FOI request on the 6th August 2021. By law I should have received a response by the 6th September 2021. I understand that Covid-19 will be causing delays. Please can you tell me how much longer I need to wait for a response to my request.

Yours faithfully,

EJ Curran-Ross

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

If you have submitted a Freedom of Information request please accept this
email as acknowledgement that your request has been received. You should
expect a response from us within 20 working days. 
“You will appreciate that all information requests place some degree of
demand on a public authority’s resources in terms of costs and staff time
and that UCL may need to prioritise resources to other areas, or adapt its
usual approach to information compliance work, in order to meet the
unprecedented challenges we are all facing during the Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.

 

Therefore, we need to advise you may experience delays in receiving
responses to information rights requests during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic.”

 

For details on how we use your personal information, please see UCL's
general privacy
notice: [1]www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/privacy/general-privacy-notice
Data Protection & FOI
Legal Services
UCL

References

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Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear EJ,

We're currently working on your request for information and will provide a response as soon as we can.

I apologise for the delay and any inconvenience caused.

Kind regards,

Mehwish Sultan
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser
University College London
Legal Services
E: [email address]; Data Protection: [email address]; FOI: [UCL request email].
Office phone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal extension: 57862); Mobile: +44 (0)7525285822

Working hours: Please note that my current working hours are Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm.

show quoted sections

Dear University College London,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of University College London's handling of my FOI request 'Defence funding for Computer Science Department'.

By law I should have received a response to my request within 20 days of my request. It has now been 65 days and I am still waiting. I accept that issues related to Covid-19 will have caused some delays, but delays of more than double the legally required response time threaten the integrity of the freedom on information service.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

EJ Curran-Ross

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear EJ Curran-Ross,

Thank you for your below e-mail.

We are currently working on your FOI request and are aiming to respond by 1st November. I apologise for the continued delay.

Please note that if you're subsequently unhappy with our response to the request, you can request an internal review which, we will be happy to consider.

Kind regards,

Mehwish Sultan
Senior Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser
University College London
Legal Services
E: [email address]; Data Protection: [email address]; FOI: [UCL request email].
Office phone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal extension: 57862); Mobile: +44 (0)7525285822

Working hours: Please note that my current working hours are Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm.

show quoted sections

Dear University College London,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of University College London's handling of my FOI request 'Defence funding for Computer Science Department'.

The original request was submitted on the 6th August 2021. As today is the 3rd November 2021, UCL's response is now more than 60 working days overdue. During the last correspondence that I had with the University, it was stated that the information would be with me by the 1st November 2021. I am thus requesting a review as I remain without a response to my request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

EJ Curran-Ross

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear EJ Curran-Ross,

Apologies for the continued delay in responding to your request for information.

We are currently working on this and will provide our response as soon as we can.

Please note that you can request an internal review once you've received our response to your request.

Kind regards,

Mehwish Sultan
Senior Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser
University College London
Legal Services
E: [email address]; Data Protection: [email address]; FOI: [UCL request email].
Office phone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal extension: 57862); Mobile: +44 (0)7525285822

Working hours: Please note that my current working hours are Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm.

show quoted sections

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear Mr Curran-Ross,

 

Apologies for the delay in responding to your request for information.

 

We have completed the compilation of information in response to your
request.

 

We can confirm that we do hold information of the description specified in
your request and this information, where it is not exempt is provided
below:

 

Your request

 

Please can you provide me with a list of all research projects funded by:

 

- The Ministry of Defence, including the Defence Science and Technology
Laboratory (DSTL);

- BAE Systems plc;

- Thales Group;

- Raytheon UK;

- Northrup Grumman;

- Lockheed Martin;

- and / or QinetiQ Group plc

conducted at University College London's Computer Science department
between 1 September 2017 to 31 July 2021.

 

I would be grateful if you could list each individual research project,
along with its funding source and amount.

 

Our response

 

There have been no research projects conducted by the Computer Science
department during the above time period funded by the following
organisations:

 

- BAE Systems plc;

- Thales Group;

- Raytheon UK;

- Northrup Grumman;

- Lockheed Martin;

- and / or QinetiQ Group plc

 

We can confirm that there have been research projects conducted by the
Computer Science department funded by the Defence Science and Technology
Laboratory (DSTL). However we believe that the information requested
regarding details of the individual research project and funding amount
are exempt from disclosure. A further explanation of why we believe this
information is exempt is provided below:

 

Section 41(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 states the following:

 

“Information is exempt information if —

(a) it was obtained by the public authority from any other person
(including another public authority), and,

(b) the disclosure of the information to the public (otherwise than under
this Act) by the public authority holding it would constitute a breach of
confidence actionable by that or any other person.”

 

As part of the contractual process for the research funding, we believe
information supplied to UCL is done so under a duty of confidence. We
believe that to disclose information negotiated during the contract
process such as details of the individual research project and the funding
amount would constitute an actionable breach of confidence, as a
consequence of which UCL would be legally liable. As the exemption under
Section 41(1) is an absolute one, there is no need to conduct a public
interest test.

 

The details of the individual research project and the funding amount have
also been withheld under the Section 43(2) exemption.

 

Section 43(2) states that: “Information is exempt information if its
disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding
it).”

 

This information has been withheld owing to the prejudice that would occur
to the commercial interests of the University and third parties.

Section 43(2) is a qualified exemption and as such a public interest test
must be performed to establish the harm that would occur from disclosure,
and where the balance of interest lies. Please see below for the outcome
of this public interest test.

Public interest test for the application of Section 43(2)

Arguments in favour of disclosure:

o There is a general public interest in transparency and openness with
regards to research funding received by public authorities.

Arguments against disclosure:

o Disclosing the requested information would inadvertently provide other
companies with information, for example, funding amounts, for which
they could use to undercut and offer to another University and/or
research institution.
o Disclosing this information would be likely to reduce the University's
ability to compete for funds and would be likely to reduce its ability
to negotiate for awards, this would ultimately prejudice the
University's ability to provide as broad and global an offering as it
currently is able to.

 

For the reasons above, we believe the balance of public interest tips in
favour of withholding this information from disclosure.

 

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including
for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for
the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for
example by publishing or issuing copies to the public, will require the
permission of the copyright owner.

 

If you are unhappy with our response to your request and wish to make a
complaint or request a review of our decision, please email
[1][email address]. Emails should include the words ‘Internal
Review’ in the subject and be marked For the Attention of the
Vice-President (Operations), alternatively you should write to:

 

Vice-President (Operations)

University College London

Gower Street

London

WC1E 6BT 

 

Please note, complaints and requests for internal review received more
than two months after the initial decision will not be handled.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner at the address given below.
You should do this within two months of our final decision.

 

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact me using the details
provided in this letter and including the request reference number.

 

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act is available from
the Information Commissioner’s Office:

 

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

SK9 5AF

 

01625 545700

[2]www.ico.org.uk

[3][email address]

 

Kind regards,

 

Mehwish Sultan

Senior Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser

University College London

Legal Services

E: [4][email address]; Data Protection: [5][email address];
FOI: [6][UCL request email].

Office phone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal extension: 57862); Mobile: +44
(0)7525285822

 

Working hours: Please note that my current working hours are Monday to
Friday 8am – 4pm.

If you have a general query relating to data protection at UCL, you may
find the [7]FAQs on the data protection website helpful.

 

References

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