Why should military research be undercover?

Military Research at Civil Universities - Ethically Responsible Research versus Freedom of Research? July 6th, 6.30pm at POT 251

The TU Dresden is discussing arms research, "dual use" and a civil clause. The current trigger for a public discussion on the subject of military research at the TU Dresden was the annual bonding company contact fair at the university, at which numerous armaments companies on the university grounds advertise for interns and young scientists. Companies such as Thyssen-Krupp, Daimler, Diehl, Jenoptik, EADS and others, which generate the majority of their profits from arms exports, have been given a podium at civil universities across Germany for many years.

In order not to leave room for difficult discussions, methods of denial and trivialization of existing arms-related research are predominantly used at universities and interrelationships with the armaments industry and non-university arms research are concealed.

Militarization as well as expansion and deepening of arms research at universities have been a central component of the FRG's internal and external militarization policy for years. The economization of education undermines the freedom and self-determination of the universities, but at the same time the “autonomous university” is loudly propagated. The increasing dependence on third-party funding favors the universities' funding for military research. The most important concept for this is the penetration of civil research with military purposes - »dual use« - not exactly new, but now embedded in a comprehensive civil-military approach for all areas of domestic and foreign policy. This is a violation of the constitution (Article 5, Paragraph 3 of the Basic Law) "Art and science, research and teaching are free." The reference that military research often brings about a civilian benefit appears just as nonsensical at this point as the reference that that many civil achievements would not have been possible without military research.

It is about much more than the question of whether and in what form a civil clause should be anchored in the basic order of the TU Dresden. Above all, it is about an honest naming of the university's applied research and a public discussion on military research, which is long overdue.

The first important steps are detection and awareness. The lecture and the panel discussion with Dr.-Ing.-Dietrich Schulze (member of the advisory board of the Natural Scientists Initiative for Peace and Sustainability) should contribute to this.