The University reportedly took almost £5 million from Huawei after the government proposed to ban company from the UK's 5G networkLouis Ashworth for Varsity

Cambridge University has received more than £26 million in research funding from Huawei, a Chinese company considered by the UK government to be a risk to national security, The Times reports.

The University has accepted £18.4 million in research grants, £698,764 in research funding and £7.6 million in donations from Huawei since 2016. This exceeds the £7.7 million which the University claims it received from Huawei between 2016 and last year.

These new statistics come from research carried out by UK-China Transparency, a charity which aims to bring the connections between the two countries into the public domain.

Their report found that this cash was spread across studentships and research grants investigating different aspects of AI. The report also maintained that all funding was approved by the University’s ethics committee.

At least £4.8 million of this Huawei funding came after the UK Government moved to ban the company from the UK’s 5G network because of the dangers it posed to national security.

Under Chinese law, Chinese companies must “support, cooperate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”. An inquiry by the Henry Jackson Society, a British think tank, alleged that Huawei likely cooperates with China’s national security apparatus.

Alicia Kearns, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “Growing evidence indicates a systematic attempt by the CCP [Communist Party of China] to infiltrate British academia and exfiltrate critical research and technology”.

“Now Cambridge should be asking itself hard questions about why it’s still accepting millions from a Chinese state company designated so great a threat that in 2020 the government removed it from domestic 5G infrastructure,” she said.

“Academia has a duty to contribute to our national security, not provide a back door to hostile states seeking to infiltrate and undermine us,” the MP continued.

Concern was also raised by Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the Conservative Party, who said: “Huawei were already banned because they were a threat [...] why in heaven’s name are they still plying their trade in places like Cambridge”.


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In a statement, a Huawei representative maintained that all of the company’s operations were above board: “Any allegation of impropriety is not only baseless but also demonstrates a misunderstanding of the positive role partnerships play in academic research.”

Cambridge University also provided a statement, accusing the Transparency Report of being “out of date, strewn with errors and late to the game in its scrutiny of Cambridge’s relationship with China”.

The University spokesperson continued: “The University stopped all new research and funding from Huawei in March 2022, a process which began in 2018 when the Conservative government was still encouraging Huawei to participate in the creation of the UK 5G network.”

“All our collaborations have been assessed against government export controls and we collaborate regularly with the government’s new research collaboration advice team,” the spokesperson added.