Irresponsible science?

How the fossil fuel and arms corporations finance professional engineering and science organisations

Authors: Stuart Parkinson and Philip Wood

Published: October 2019

Pages: 52

Publisher: Scientists for Global Responsibility


This report reveals a previously unrecognised pattern of financial links between the fossil fuel and arms industries on the one hand, and some of the UK’s leading professional engineering and science organisations on the other. The links revealed include funding and branding of school education programmes, sponsorship of prestige conferences and dinners, investments, major donations, and corporate membership. The professional organisations that received the most significant funding from these controversial industries were the Royal Academy of Engineering, EngineeringUK and the Energy Institute.

It shows that some of the most influential professional engineering and science organisations prominently and, at times, preferentially promoted the fossil fuel and arms sectors. This is despite these industries having serious ethical shortcomings, such as failing to take the necessary scale of action to reduce carbon emissions or continuing to export weapons that fuel conflict and human rights abuses.

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1. Association of Science Education

2. BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT

3. British Psychological Society

4. Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

5. Energy Institute

6. Engineering Council

7. EngineeringUK

8. Geological Society

9. Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining

10. Institution of Mechanical Engineers

11. Institute of Physics

12. Institution of Civil Engineers

13. Institution of Engineering and Technology

14. Institution of Environmental Sciences

15. Institution of Structural Engineers

16. Royal Academy of Engineering

A16 supplement

17. Royal Meteorological Society

18. Royal Society

A18 supplement

19. Royal Statistical Society

20. Science Council

21. List of fossil fuel and arms corporations


2021 updates on progress


Data on arms companies

Data on fossil fuel companies


The Geological Society

Report on Geological Society

Letter to Geological Society

Response from Geological Society


Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3)

Report on IOM3

Letter to IOM3

The IOM3 did not respond.


Institute of Physics

Report on Institute of Physics

Letter to Institute of Physics

Response from Institute of Physics


Royal Meteorological Society

Updated report on Royal Meteorological Society (August 2021)

Letter to Royal Meteorological Society

The Royal Meteorological Society responded to SGR in late August and we updated the report to acknowledge that the Royal Meteorological Society does not invest in fossil fuels.


Royal Society

Report on Royal Society

Letter to Royal Society

Response from Royal Society