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Spy chief warns foreign powers are targeting UK universities

by LLB political Reporter
26th Apr 24 11:53 am

The MI5 spy chief has issued a warning that the UK’s enemies are targeting universities to undermine national security.

The Security Service (MI5) spoke with 24 vice-chancellors at leading universities on Thursday over the threat of foreign powers are targeting the UK for cutting edge research that will be effective for their own military and their economy.

The Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has introduced consultation on measures to protect UK universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London to prevent intellectual property being stolen to enhance their own militaries.

Felicity Oswald, interim chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre was alongside the MI5 Director General Ken McCallum during the meeting.

The government will consult on protective measures for research that could potentially have a dual-use in military life and for the economies.

Dowden said this is about “balancing evolving threats and protecting the integrity and security of our great institutions.”

Tim Bradshaw said Russell Group universities are currently working with the government to “protect UK breakthroughs” in areas such as AI.

Bradshaw added, “But we also recognise security is a dynamic and evolving challenge which means we need the right expertise and intelligence to keep pace with this.

The chief executive of Universities UK, Vivienne Stern said they have been working with the government for many years to ensure they are able to “recognise and mitigate” potential national security risks.

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