Students occupied the BP institute for over an hourAction media

Students and academics occupied the University’s BP institute on Tuesday (17/5) to demand that the University end research partnerships with fossil fuel companies.

The occupiers, who were there for over an hour, staged a theatrical performance, as well as a range of speeches against the influence of fossil fuel companies on University research.

The protesters were joined by Zak Coleman, the Student Union's (SU) undergraduate president,  who called on the university’s Earth Science department to “cut ties with these anti-science monsters”.

SU president Zak Coleman has previously called on the career service to stop advertising jobs related to fossil fuel industriesAction media

Coleman has previously called on the careers service to not promote activities related to fossil fuel industries.

Action also took place at Oxford, where students protested outside the Saïd Business School.


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The protests were organised by Fossil Free Research, a campaign group seeking to separate climate research from the influence of fossil fuel companies.

Fossil Free Research said the occupation was in response to the universities’ acceptance of money from fossil fuel companies. In the past five years, Oxbridge received £22m from oil firms. Cambridge and Oxford received the highest amount of fossil fuel funding among the UK universities.

The University of Cambridge pledged to divest in 2020 with a ‘net zero’ plan. However, research suggests it has continued to take funding from energy firms over the last four years.

Fossil Free Research says Oxbridge needs to dismantle these “companies’ influence in elite academia entirely”.

They say that the funding is an example of ‘greenwashing’, with the companies wishing to be seen as supportive of climate research, whilst undermining the legitimacy of climate research due to special interests.