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27/5 - Soldiers in the Laboratory

Chris Langley - 27th May 2005

A Praxis Centre Seminar by Dr Chris Langley - Friday 27 May 2005

Dr Chris Langley gave a seminar at Leeds Metropolitan University on the report "Soldiers in the Laboratory" launched in parliament on 19th January 2005 by the Scientists for Global Responsibility. The presentation covered the major findings of the report which detailed the pervasive military presence within science and technology in the UK and examined developments from the end of the Cold War to the "War on Terror" to demonstrate that the military still has considerable influence over science and technology. A full 30% of all public spending on R&D in the UK is funded by the Ministry of Defence, dwarfing that spent by, eg, the National Health Service. A new generation of multi-million pound military partnerships has been developed involving UK universities, and these groups pursue high technology, largely weapons-based research in a climate of commercialisation and secrecy.
The report details four case studies on: new nuclear weapons; nanotechnology; biological sciences; and the "Missile Defense" programme. These show that much military science and technology helps to narrow thinking on security issues, focusing on the use of military technology while marginalising attempts to understand and tackle the roots of conflict. The report argues that more balanced funding of science and technology, which would include more resources directed towards solving global environmental and social problems (eg climate change, clean water and sanitation, resource depletion), would have greater benefits, including in terms of global security.

  Dave Webb and Chris Langley   Chris Langley  


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