UCL links with Arms Companies

N Gordon-P made this Freedom of Information request to University College London

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was partially successful.

Dear University College London,

This request follows 2 previous requests made (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u... and https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...) in order to obtain the most up-to-date information on UCL's links with arms companies.

I am writing to request information on the existing financial relations between UCL and arms companies, including (specifically, but not limited to BAE Systems, Rolls
Royce, GKN, Smiths Group, Cobham, VT Group, General Dynamics,
General Electric, Halliburton, L3 Communications, Northrup Grumman
and Raytheon). Please include the following information:

1) The total amount, in pounds sterling, that the university has
received in research funding from arms trade companies since 2018, broken down year by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021)

2) The total amount, in pounds sterling, that the university has
received in the form of industrial consultancy and industrial
research fees from arms trade companies since 2018, broken down year by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021)

3) The total amount, in pounds sterling, that the university has
received in research funding from the Ministry of Defence since 2018, broken down year by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021)

4) The total amount, in pounds sterling, that the university has
received in the form of industrial consultancy and industrial
research fees from the Ministry of Defence since 2018, broken down year by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021)

5) A portfolio statement for the fund(s) our university
has investments in. If you do not have a copy of this, please send
me a list of the names of the fund(s) and the corresponding
management companies. Details should be broken down year by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021).

6) Please also confirm if any shares are held in the above companies
as part of a pension fund or endowment, either directly or
indirectly through an externally managed fund since 2018. Details should be broken down year by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021).

7) Please also include the financial amount of university fees being covered by arms companies for graduate degrees and 'studentships'.

Please ensure that the information is provided clearly in EXCEL format so as to be sufficiently clear to understand.

Yours faithfully,

N Gordon-Polomski

Dear University College London,

Since today marks a month since I sent the request, I am sending this follow-up to confirm that the above FOI request regarding the university's links with arms companies has been received successfully.

Yours faithfully,

N Gordon-P

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 Mr Gordon-P,

Thank you for your below e-mail.

I can confirm that we have received your below request for information and that we are currently working on our response.

I will provide you with an update on our progress by Friday 26th March. Apologies 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.

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Dear Finance.FOI Requests,

This is just a reminder that I was informed that I would be receiving further updated information regarding my request today, which was submitted over a month ago now.

I hope to be hearing from you as confirmed in your response on Monday.

Yours sincerely,

N Gordon-P

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear Mr Gordon-P,

I’m afraid we’re still working on this request. I’ll be in touch as soon as the response is ready.

Apologies 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.

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Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear Mr Gordon-P,

Further to my below e-mail, I write to advise that UCL are required to conduct a public interest test with regard to your request. This is on account of qualified exemptions being engaged for the information you have requested.

The exemption under consideration is the following:

Section 43 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 - "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)."

Public authorities are entitled to an additional 20 working days to consider the application of the exemption and we will disclose our full response to you as soon as we are able.

Please let me know if you have any questions with regard to this process in the meantime.

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.

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Dear Finance.FOI Requests,

Considering the last two requests I cited (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u... and https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...) were for the same information I am requesting now, please could you explain what has changed since then to elicit a different response?

Yours sincerely,

N Gordon-P

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear N Gordon-P,

The additional 20 working days is required so that we can conduct a public interest test in relation to the Section 43(2) exemption.

The reason we believe the exemption applies is because we believe the information requested is both sensitive and commercial and disclosure of it may be likely to harm the commercial interests of both the University and third parties it does business with.

We are considering the public interest in relation to this exemption and will provide our full response as soon as we are able.

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.

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Dear Finance.FOI Requests,

I understand the nature of the exemption. What is unclear to me is why it applies to my request but did not apply to the exact same requests for the same information made prior to me by other students, whom were given the information without trouble.

Could you please explain this?

Yours sincerely,

N Gordon-P

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. 
UCL closes for Easter from 5.30pm Thursday 1 April to 9am Monday 12 April.
“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

Visible links
1. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/pri...

Dear University College London,

I made my initial FOI request on the 22nd February and after delay was informed that you would need extra time due to COVID delays. Still, I was notified of the requirement to conduct a public interest test regarding my FOI request on the 29th March - over a month after my initial inquiry.
This entitled you to an extra 20 days to consider the request and respond.
It has now been over 2 months since my initial request and I have yet to receive any information or the outcome of the public interest test.

I hope to hear from you soon otherwise I will be forced to submit a complaint, which I would rather avoid as I understand you are busy.

Yours faithfully,

N Gordon-P

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

Visible links
1. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/pri...

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear N Gordon-P,

I apologise for the delay on this.

We’re currently working on it and we will aim to send it you by the end of next week.

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.

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Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

6 Attachments

Dear N Gordon-P,

 

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 some information of the description
specified in your request and where this information is not exempt, it is
provided below.

 

Your request and our response

 

I am writing to request information on the existing financial relations
between UCL and arms companies, including (specifically, but not limited
to BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, GKN, Smiths Group, Cobham, VT Group, General
Dynamics, General Electric, Halliburton, L3 Communications, Northrup
Grumman and Raytheon). Please include the following information:

 

1) The total amount, in pounds sterling, that the university has received
in research funding from arms trade companies since 2018, broken down year
by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021)

 

Please see below for the total research funding received for the period
from 2018-19 to 2019-20:

 

£1,437,347.

 

Please note that there was no research funding in 2020-21.

 

Please note that the above figures are based on the list of companies
specifically mentioned in the request. We do not hold data which groups
funders into categories such as ‘arms trade’.

 

The exact total figures broken down by year for 2018-19 and 2019-20 have
been withheld under the Section 43(2) exemption, please see below for
further information.

 

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.

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 Providing the exact figures broken down by year would inadvertently
provide other companies information, for example, the exact research
funding amount received from a specific company. This is especially
the case where there is only one research project in a particular
academic year. This information could subsequently be used to undercut
and offer to another University and/or research institution.
o Finally, 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 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.

 

2) The total amount, in pounds sterling, that the university has received
in the form of industrial consultancy and industrial research fees from
arms trade companies since 2018, broken down year by year (2018-2019,
2019-2020, 2020-2021)

 

For research funding, please see the figures provided in answer to
question 1 above.

 

Please see below for the consultancy figures being requested:

 

2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 (up to January 2021)
Consultancy Income £319,559.74 £129,002.14 £96,325.84

 

3) The total amount, in pounds sterling, that the university has received
in research funding from the Ministry of Defence since 2018, broken down
year by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021)

 

Please see below for the total research funding received from the Ministry
of Defence for the period from 2018-19 to 2020-21:

 

£800,814.

 

Please see our response to question 1 above as to why we have not provided
the figures broken down by year.

 

4) The total amount, in pounds sterling, that the university has received
in the form of industrial consultancy and industrial research fees from
the Ministry of Defence since 2018, broken down year by year (2018-2019,
2019-2020, 2020-2021)

 

For research funding, please see the figure provided in answer to question
3 above.

 

There was no consultancy income from the Ministry of Defence during the
period requested.

 

5) A portfolio statement for the fund(s) our university has investments
in. If you do not have a copy of this, please send me a list of the names
of the fund(s) and the corresponding management companies. Details should
be broken down year by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021).

 

Please find attached fund statements for each of the UCL appointed
investment managers as at 31^st July 2019 (2018-19) and 31^st July 2020
(2019-20).

 

Regarding 2020-21, we have attached the most recent statement from
December 2020.

 

6) Please also confirm if any shares are held in the above companies as
part of a pension fund or endowment, either directly or indirectly through
an externally managed fund since 2018. Details should be broken down year
by year (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021).

 

UCL does not operate its own pension fund and contributes to the USS and
SAUL HEI sector pension funds, who have their own Trustees and are legally
distinct from UCL and other contributing universities. As such, investment
information is not available from UCL. With regard to UCL's own investment
portfolio, we can confirm we do not hold shares in any of the companies
listed in the request.

 

7) Please also include the financial amount of university fees being
covered by arms companies for graduate degrees and 'studentships'.

 

Direct payments relating to university fees from the companies listed in
the request are set out below:

 

  2020/21 2019/20 2018/19
 £                  £             
BAE SYSTEMS £  4,618.00 -   -  
(BAE SYSTEMS LAND
UK)      
£               £                  £             
ROLLS ROYCE -   -   -  
£               £            £             
GKN -         -   -  
£               £                  £             
SMITHS GROUP -   -   -  
£               £                  £             
COBHAM -   -   -  
£               £                  £             
VT GROUP -   -   -  
GENERAL DYNAMICS £             
(UK LTD) -    £   13,140.00  £  6,379.80
£               £                  £             
GENERAL ELECTRIC -   -   -  
£               £                  £             
HALLIBURTON -   -   -  
£               £                  £             
L3 COMMUNICATIONS -   -   -  
£               £                  £             
NORTHRUP GRUMMAN -   -   -  
£               £                  £             
RAYTHEON -   -   -  
  £  4,618.00  £   13,140.00  £  6,379.80

 

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 Chief
Operating Officer, alternatively you should write to:

 

Chief Operating Officer

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

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.

 

References

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