Security-sensitive research materials

The University is required to comply with Section 26 (1) of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 which imposes a duty on ‘specified authorities’ to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Government guidance for HEIs on implementation of this duty includes the statement that:

“We [the UK government] would expect to see clear policies and procedures for students and staff working on sensitive or extremism-related research.”  (para 28)

The University has developed a policy and procedures for managing and storingsecurity-sensitive research material based on the guidance document published by Universities UK, Oversight of security-sensitive research material in UK universities: guidance, which involves the registration of research that involves access to and/or storage of security sensitive research material.

What is ‘security-sensitive’ research material?

Security-sensitive research materials cover:

  • Materials that are covered by the Official Secrets Act (1989) and the Terrorism Act 2006
  • Materials that could be considered ‘extremist’ which is defined in the Statutory Guidance to HEIs under Section 29 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 as, 'vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs'
  • Materials used for research projects commissioned by the military or under an EU security call.
  • Research projects that involve the acquisition of security clearances to undertake the research.

‘Materials’ include online, electronic and hardcopy sources, audio and video recordings.

It is recognised that other research material, not mentioned above, could also be regarded as security sensitive. If in any doubt, a researcher should contact the University’s Research Governance Officer for further advice.

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REO Research Governance Team