The Government is setting up a new team to offer researchers advice on how to protect their work from hostile activity, helping international collaboration continue while remaining both safe and secure.
The new team – RCAT, the Research Collaboration Advice Team will have a base in BEIS and will promote security advice, cyber security, export controls, protecting IP and responding when issues do arrive. Given the recent interest in some of the vaccine research, this is a timely move to protect British work and encourage partnerships abroad without putting projects at risk of destruction, theft, espionage or disruption.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:
The UK is home to some of the world’s leading scientists and researchers. Their vital work over the past year in response to the pandemic demonstrates how crucial it is to foster an open yet secure environment for pioneering research.
Researchers need to take precautions when collaborating internationally, and this new team will support them as we cement our status as a science superpower.
This work builds upon the recent National Security and Investment Act which allows the Government to investigate and intervene in potential hostile mergers, acquisitions and deals which could threaten our national security. Having a single point of contact in Government will make it easier to highlight issues, build expertise and draw links between disruption when it is occurring across business and research in our country.