Security-sensitive research

The UK Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 imposes a duty on Universities to 'have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism'.



This requires the University to have policies and processes in place for staff or students working on sensitive or extremism-related research, defined as research involving groups that are on the Home Office list of proscribed terrorist groups or organisations.

The University has developed a Policy and Process for Managing Security-Sensitive Research (PDF, 63KB) (including learning and teaching activities which involve an element of research or academic enquiry), approved by Senate in December 2017.

The University takes its duty of care towards staff and students seriously.

This policy seeks to balance academic freedom, and the facilitation of appropriate research, with the need to have proportionate processes and safeguards in place.

In particular it aims to:

  • Ensure the welfare of staff and, in particular, students who undertake security-sensitive research, recognising the potentially radicalising and/or distressing effects of viewing security-sensitive material;
  • Protect staff and students undertaking legitimate research from misinterpretation by the authorities (which may result in legal sanction).

A short supporting guidance document (PDF, 52KB) has also been developed for staff to explain what the policy is for, and to help you consider the implications for you and your students.

Who to contact

For more information please contact Lindsay Unwin (, +44 0114 222 1443).

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