Some of Britain's top universities have accepted millions of pounds from the arms industry giving the controversial trade "a veneer of respectability," campaigners said today.
Figures obtained by the Huffington Post under Freedom of Information requests show that in the three years from 2008-2011 leading British universities received at least £83m from British arms companies and government military agencies.
The figures, analysed by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), focus on the 24 Russell Group universities.
Of the 24, six refused or were unable to supply relevant information - Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, University College London and Warwick.
The London School of Economics said it did not receive military funding while Durham said it had received £67,000.
The remaining 16 universities received a total of over £83m from a combination of government agencies and private companies.
Imperial College received £15.2m, Sheffield £13.8m, Cambridge £13.8m and Oxford just over £9m.
Bristol received £6.5m, Nottingham just under £6m, King's College London £5.3m, York £3.9m, Southampton £3.8m and Newcastle £2m.
Direct government military funding to the 16 universities totalled £23.6m.
The largest recipient was Imperial with over £7.8m, mainly through the Atomic Weapons Establishment, followed by King's with £5.4m, virtually all from the Ministry of Defence.
Funding from private companies including Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and QinetiQ totalled £62.8m.
The largest recipients were Sheffield with £13.5m, Cambridge with £9.5m, Oxford with £8.7m and Nottingham with just over £5m.
CAAT universities network co-ordinator Beth Smith said: "Arms companies fund research projects partly to ensure that certain research gets done.
"By partnering with arms companies, universities provide them with a veneer of respectability and help them to continue their devastating work.
"Universities should play no role in supporting the arms trade."
A Russell Group spokesperson said: "Like all world-class universities Russell Group institutions collaborate with a number of public and private-sector companies on a wide range of leading research projects, including in the defence sector.
"All our universities have robust systems in place to ensure any partnerships are appropriate."
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