On Wednesday, Queen’s accepted research project funding from Chinese technology company Huawei—despite warnings from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
On Oct. 4, representatives from the top research-intensive universities in Canada were cautioned about future relations with the company. As reported in The Globe and Mail, universities listed within the U15 joined CSIS in Ottawa to discuss Huawei’s increased presence in the country.
The agency cautioned the research vice-principals of the U15—of which Queen’s is a member—about receiving funding from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. citing national security concerns.
At the meeting, CSIS officials, including Assistant Director of Intelligence Michael Peirce, expressed concerns about security and cyber intelligence surrounding Huawei’s implementation of 5G wireless tech in Canada and its research connectionsto the country’s universities.
No specific courses of action accompanied the warning. Following these developments, The Journal inquired about Queen’s connections to Huawei.
When asked about any previous history with Huawei, the University stated that no research projects had been funded by the company up to this point.
Vice-Principal (Research) Dr. Kimberly Woodhouse also issued a statement concerning Queen’s relationship with the company.
“Huawei is one of scores of international companies thatare engaged in partnerships with Canadian universities,” Woodhouse wrote to The Journal.
“Queen’s has now been informed that Huawei has approved a contract concerning funding for one research project with the possibility of additional funding still under discussion. As is standard with these types of agreements, we cannot comment further on specifics.”
She added because of the University’s enrollment in theU15 there are regular opportunities for discussion concerning ongoing security issues for researchers.
“Queen’s will continue to support the work of faculty members and researchers who wish to pursue collaborative projects, and to comply with all federal directives and regulations regarding research partnerships,” she wrote.
An earlier Globe and Mail report revealed Huawei was partnered with numerous research universities in Canada. Through funding research projects in Canada, the company funnels the resulting intellectual property back into its own tech development.
According to the same report, Huawei has committed an estimated $50 million to 13 Canadian universities.
On Dec. 4, CSIS Director David Vigneault addressed the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto, warning attendees about the use of 5G mobile networks facilitated by Huawei.
“Hostile states typically target companies or universities that are active in emerging technology—the kind of potentially revolutionary discoveries that can bring massive profits,” Vigneault said.
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