Oxford University to Huawei: “Thanks for the Research Funding, but No, Thanks”


Huawei just can’t seems to crack the nut that is the North American and European market. First, it was the cybersecurity chiefs in the US warning consumers not to purchase its devices, the government warning telecom not to use its infrastructures, and now its grants and funding donations to the Oxford University is being turned down. Not to mention the trade wars sparked by the Trump administration against China.

That is right, Oxford University has just suspended all research grants and funding donations from the Chinese telecommunications technology company. But why, you ask? Well, same reason Huawei is always being suspected of; cybersecurity concerns.

Though the current research contracts already given out and committed by the Huawei to the university will still go ahead. But the University will not accept any further new grants and fundings donation from the Chinese company often accused to be working too closely with Beijing for cyber-espionage operations in foreign countries.

Related: Huawei to spend $2 billion in overhauling its global software system to assure foreign government it’s not out on espionage operations

There are currently two ongoing projects in which Huawei has already committed £692 000 696,000. The University had the following to say:

Oxford University decided on 8 January this year that it will not pursue new funding opportunities with Huawei Technologies or its related group companies at present.

Huawei has been notified of the decision which the university will keep under review. The decision applies both to the funding of research contracts and of philanthropic donations.

The decision has been taken in the light of public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei. We hope these matters can be resolved shortly and note Huawei’s own willingness to reassure governments about its role and activities.

The university will continue with existing research contracts where funding from Huawei has already been received or committed. We currently have two such ongoing projects, with a combined funding from Huawei of £692 000 ($786,484). Both projects were approved under the university’s regulatory processes before the current levels of uncertainty arose.”

The UK raised ‘Very Deep Concerns’ over Huawei’s rollout of 5G Network

The UK defense secretary, Gavin Williamson’ had earlier raised “very deep concerns” over Huawei’s involvement in the rollout of 5G network in the UK.

In December 2018 Alex Younger, the head of M16, said the UK should make a similar decision on Huawei given other governments around the world were taking a step back with the adoption of the company’s telecommunications infrastructure.

Huawei’s ties with the State of China

As you may have already know, Huawei was founded by Ren Zhengfei. He was a former officer of the People’s Liberation Army, which has very deep ties with the government of China. Some security experts have consistently alleged the company conducts espionage activities at the behest of Beijing. Though Huawei has consistently denied these accusations.

In a recent interview, Zhengfei said he has never been asked by the Chinese government to share “improper information.”

In response to the Oxford University announcement, a spokeswoman from Huawei said: “We were not informed of this decision and await the university’s full explanation. As a private, employee-owned technology company, with a strong track record in R&D we believe partnership decisions should, like research, be evidence-based.

We have operated in the UK since 2001, employ 1,500 people here and have long-standing collaboration with 20 other UK universities, working with them to research the technologies of the future.”

Several Research programs across Universities in the UK

Huawei has funded a number of academic research program across several universities in the UK including the University of Cambridge, University of Surrey, University of Manchester, and the Imperial College London.

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