On Tuesday 16 March, the EPSRC Security, Privacy, Identity and Trust NetworkPlus (SPRITE+, led by University of Manchester) will be holding a short workshop on Trusted Research. Researchers from any discipline and from every career stage are most welcome, even if they don’t do security-relevant research.

Please email admin@spritehub.org by 12 March if you would like to attend.

Background

Responding to concerns about the potential risks posed by international academic collaborations, several bodies from central government (CPNI, NCSC, OSCT, BEIS), UKRI, and academia (including via Universities UK, and the researcher-led Academic Freedom and Internationalisation Working Group) have been working to assess the risks and offer guidance.

This work is usually grouped together as “Trusted Research” but covers a range of issues, including:

  • Regulatory compliance (e.g., Export Controls, GDPR, partner-country regulations)
  • Protecting IP (including cyber security and data protection issues)
  • Conflicts of interest with other research partners
  • Risk of foreign interference in research/teaching and academic freedom
  • Protecting staff and students overseas
  • Reputational risk and ethical issues (including potential misuse/abuse/dual use of research knowledge)

At a strategic level, CPNI/NCSC and UUK have issued guidance aimed at senior leaders. Many UK universities (including UoM) are already working on implementing the guidance while others are considering the implications for their processes. CPNI/NCSC has also issued guidance for individual PIs and research teams, but awareness and uptake of this guidance is patchy.

This workshop

In our workshop we will be exploring the implications of the guidance for ‘coal face’ PIs and their teams, examining the barriers to awareness and implementation, and suggesting ways to improve the situation. We’ve consulted with UUK, UKRI, CPNI and NCSC to ensure we are not duplicating effort, and we have their support and encouragement for this and (potentially) any subsequent community-led Trusted Research initiatives. The outputs of the workshop will help shape the next iteration of guidance for Universities.

The workshop will include short talks from Professor Anthony Finkelstein (Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security) and Professor Sir Peter Gregson (VC of Cranfield University and UUK lead for Trusted Research), but most of the time will be spent in discussion.

Participants

We are looking for a broad range of participants from academia, including those who are experienced in security-relevant research and familiar with the challenges, and those who may not have considered these issues in detail before. We are keen to see representation from across disciplines from STEM to arts and social sciences as well as a spread of career stages.

Please forward nominations to admin@spritehub.org asap, but by 12 March at the latest.

We’re happy to answer any questions via admin@spritehub.org.

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