Controversial ‘Think Tank’ to fund Cambridge University research

Eleanor Dickinson - Deputy News Editor 27 February 2011

Cambridge University is to work with RAND Europe Corporation to launch a new health services research centre based at the University.

However, it has been revealed that amongst RAND’s clients are the US Department of Defence, the Joint Improvised Explosive Devise Defeat Organisation and the Nuclear Threat Initiative – all groups linked to weaponry and military operations.

This news comes less than a month after it was revealed Cambridge was receiving funding from US government defence organisations.

RAND Europe, an arm of the US policy research institute, is working in partnership with the University of Cambridge Health Services Research Group in setting up the centre.

Cambridge Defend Education was quick to condemn RAND’s involvement with the project.

Third year Cambridge Student and activist, Liam McNulty, told The Cambridge Student: “Given the track record of corporate funding in education, research and public services, people would be right to worry about the interests of profit being prioritised over academic freedom and the needs of people.

“Unaccountable corporate funding should not and must not replace the public funding of education.

“By capitulating in the face of government cuts and by planning to charge the maximum tuition fees, the University is clearly launching itself further down the path of marketisation and subordination to corporate interests.”

A University spokesman however defended the project, commenting: “RAND is a US-based private not-for-profit research organisation which lives by getting research grants.

“It works across a wide range of areas including healthcare, education, IT and defence and security. Its various divisions do not overlap. The Health Services Research Group chaired by Professor Martin Roland works in a joint partnership with the RAND healthcare division.”

Eleanor Dickinson – Deputy News Editor