Trusted Research Advisory Group

Published: 5 December 2022

The Trusted Research Advisory Group (TRAG) will oversee the University’s approach to the Trusted Research agenda

Dear Colleagues, 

I am writing to let you know that we have set up a small group to help make decisions on research and innovation activities which may be subject to government strategic export control legislation and/or the National Securities and Investment Act (2021). This legislation forms part of the government’s Trusted Research agenda.  

As you may be aware, we are seeing much greater government interest in research and innovation activities which involve collaborations with partners in certain foreign countries.  The government has instituted additional controls over research collaborations which could have a potential military or related application, and where the UK government has security concerns about specific entities; this involves an increased requirement to apply for export control licences and tighter restrictions under the NSI Act.

The group includes Prof Chris Pearce (Vice Principal, Research & KE), Uzma Khan (Vice Principal, Innovation & Economic Development), Declan Weldon (Executive Director of Innovation and Enterprise), Bryony Wakefield (Executive Director of Research Services), Alistair Wilson (Head of Legal) and colleagues from Research Services and Finance, as well as myself.  Our goal is to facilitate and support research activity as much as possible while ensuring that we comply with UK legislation.  We will keep in touch with external agencies such as the Export Controls Joint Unit, Research Collaborations Advisory Team and the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure as well as with other UK research universities.  Internally, we will provide advice on general issues as well as specific guidance and support for researchers.  A copy of the terms of reference for the group are attached.

I appreciate that this is an area of particular concern to those working in certain disciplines.  If you have any specific queries at this time,  please don’t hesitate to let us know by emailing me, speaking with Alli Jackson or Diane Foster in R&I, or emailing We will communicate further about this matter in due course.

With kind regards

David Duncan

Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary

First published: 5 December 2022