My Way or the Huawei

The University has accepted funding from the Chinese tech giant Huawei, despite increasing security concerns from the UK government.

(Image: Iwan Stone)

THE UNIVERSITY HAS accepted awards of over £1 million in funding from controversial Chinese technology company Huawei over the last three years.

Funding was awarded for research projects in the Computer Science and Electronic Engineering departments, and almost £300,000 has been received by these departments in the second half of 2020 alone.

In January 2019, the University of Oxford placed a ban on accepting research grants or donations from the company, following security concerns being raised by MPs and then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson around Huawei’s role in the UK’s 5G network.

The company was later banned from the UK’s national 5G infrastructure after criticism over these concerns and alleged links to the Chinese state.

Earlier this year, Tom Tugendhat MP, who runs Parliament’s China Research Group, speaking to BBC News, said: “quiet ongoing partnerships between British universities and Chinese state-backed companies must be more transparent. Universities need to think hard about who they choose to partner with.”

Speaking to York Vision, YUSU President Patrick O’Donnell said: “the University is currently exploring its Strategy for 2030 and it may well be worth further exploring who the University accepts donations from, ensuring that our activities and relationships are consistent with our values and that students are an important part of these conversations”.

A University of York spokesperson told Vision that: “the University is committed to transparency and accountability and we undertake research in accordance with the highest professional standards, as specified in the University’s Code of Practice on Research Integrity, to ensure that it is robust and accords with rigorous ethical values”.

Huawei denies any links to the Chinese state.