Freshwater Strategy was recently commissioned by UK-based think tank, the Henry Jackson Society, to conduct public opinion research for its latest paper on the risks of research collaboration with high-risk countries.
The report, authored by Dr Helena Ivanov, and contributed to by Freshwater Strategy’s Dr Michael Turner (Director) and Morgan James (Consultant), identifies key dimensions of research collaboration risk, areas of research where British adults want greater protections, and the countries they see as high-risk for each research area tested.
The findings show that risk dimensions that are most concerning centre around national security and data privacy. Of the research areas examined in the report, both cyber security and DNA testing were seen by Brits as areas of research collaboration that were most risky.
The anxiety of the British public is evident in the polling, and underscores an apprehension about continuing to engage in risky relationships with research partners that may become difficult and costly to disentangle from in the future.
However, there is also an understanding among Brits, that the benefits in some research areas outweigh the risks, and make sense to collaborate in, with the scope to provide valuable benefits to ordinary people.
The report concludes that a tailored and measured approach to restrictions and safeguards needs to be developed, that takes into account the balance of risks and benefits for each research area, to establish a safer, and less enmeshed research environment between British institutions, and those from ‘high-risk’ countries.
You can read the full report, published on the HJS website, here.