Trusted Research is a campaign designed to help researchers, UK universities and industry partners make informed decisions when working with international collaborators. The advice is designed to help you protect your research from theft and exploitation, and ensuring that both your reputation and that of Aston University is protected.

Guidance on these issues can be found below:

  • The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) has published guidance to help researchers and academic institutions to get the most from working in collaboration with others as well as protecting their own work.
  • UKRI has also provided guidance.

Trusted Research provides information on important subjects such as personal data, research data, export controls, intellectual property and cyber security. This guidance will be developed over time as more relevant legislation and guidance is introduced.

Does this apply to my research

All research can be at risk but joint and applied research can be particularly vulnerable.

Joint Research

Joint research can be corrupted by organisations and institutions based in nations whose interests, and ethical values are divergent from our own. Joint research can afford those individuals with hostile intent access to expertise, IT, research and networks.

Applied Research

Applied research is susceptible to misuse particularly if the purpose is to solve definitive problems or create a commercial application. The potential for harm in applied research is great with consequences including loss of IP and misuse of technology in either an unethical manner or a means which threatens national security. 

What do I need to do?

Trusted Research is particularly relevant to researchers in STEM subjects, dual-use technologies, emerging technologies and commercially sensitive research areas but we would encourage all of our academic colleagues to familiarise themselves with this information.

Researchers must:

  • maintain mandatory University training in protecting personal data, cyber security and discipline-relevant modules such as Export Controls and Due Diligence
  • ensure that they are familiar with the guidance published under the four sub-sections of this webpage: Due Diligence, Export Controls, National Security and Investment Act - ATAS
  • Consider security-related risks when discussing potential collaborations
  • disclose collaborations, funding and partnerships with international individuals and organisations whether funded or not
  • declare any conflict of interest (real or perceived) or not
  • seek advice if they are unsure of anything and at the beginning of a new research collaboration with an international collaborator

Key contacts

The Research Governance inbox is monitored daily by the University's Research Integrity team who will liaise with Authorised Officers and key stakeholders as necessary.

The University's Strategic Funding Managers play a key part in helping researchers complete Due Diligence processes as part of the research bid development and approval. Please contact the relevant person as early as possible in the bid development process, so that you have time to complete stage 1 of the Due Diligence process before the bid is submitted.

The University's Business Development Managers will also be able to help researchers complete Due Diligence process as part of their bids for direct industry funding, Innovate UK, or KTPs. Please contact the relevant person as early as possible in the bid development process, so that you have time to complete stage 1 of the Due Diligence process before the bid is submitted.