Since 2018 this has been a public concern of intelligence services across Europe. Privately much longer. And one Irish senior civil servant told me that Irish universities were “utterly compromised” by CCP money and R&D. In 2018 the issue was highlighted in the UK:
MI5, and GCHQ, said the recruitment to UK universities of students from PRC, particularly postgrads, is raising the risk of The CCP stealing research and intellectual property from universities and of university computer systems being compromised.
The UK Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI, 2019) warned,
Irish universities may be similar targets. What frustrates me is the unwillingness to acknowledge how what is being developed her in partnership with CCP companies can be weaponised. I do not think Irish researchers really get this. They genuinely want to create positive tech
Our universities are being used to fill the creative, innovative, critical thinking void communism has created in the PRC. The CCP will steal tech; or use western universities to develop it because it cannot produce innovation and enterprise like we can.
In the submission to the Irish #NationalSecurity strategy we focused on higher education because of our real concern over how our desperately underfunded universities are being manipulated by CCP controlled companies. We strongly recommended the following:
A Foreign Agents Registration Act and companies, organisations and Individuals who place or promote the interests of the CCP above that of Ireland or the EU be required to register.
In general, the State should seek to ensure that its research funding is being used in ways that align with Ireland’s values, needs and national interests. And is protected appropriately and it’s IP aggressively protected.
State funding agencies such as the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland should use the @ASPI_org China Defence Universities Tracker to help investigate and consider the foreign military or security links of current and future funding recipients;
The Ethics Committee of each HEI should be required to conduct similar investigations and the HEA should be given powers to conduct such reviews and instruct a university
not to engage in the research where outcomes could be used as tools of oppression by the partner’s state
Funding agencies should ensure disclosure of conflicts of interest by grant application assessors. And such conflicts should be referred to the Dept/agency managing the registration of Foreign Agents for consideration.
The State should issue clear and public guidance to universities on specific areas of research with important security, economic or human rights implications that should be protected from unsupervised technology transfer. This includes genome and biological research
Officers, defence conglomerate employees and members of security agencies of states or hostile state agencies should by default not be given visas if they intend to study
dual-use technology in Ireland. These would need clearance through security services and FARA sept/agency
The HEA should be directed to establish a ‘HEI Foreign Interference Taskforce’, similar to one established in Australia. Key areas for consideration include:
Safeguarding of academic freedom, values and research collaboration;

Research, collaboration and education activities must be mindful of national interest;

Security is a collective responsibility with individual accountability where no entity may exist that infringes this
You can follow @stevenconlon.
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