Research with possible military applications (dual-use)

Ghent University does not engage in research that is exclusively of military use. Nor are third parties active on UGent's premises allowed to develop goods and applications of an exclusive military nature.

Nevertheless, sometimes research is interesting for both civil and military applications. This is then called 'dual-use research’. For example, research on carbon fibers is useful when producing wind turbine blades, medical implants and bicycle helmets, but is also useful when developing military drones. Likewise, encryption software is useful to prevent data theft, but can also be used in a military context.

Given the benefits at the civil level, dual-use research may be conducted at Ghent University, on the following conditions:

  • Exploitation of the research results for civil applications is not made impossible
  • The research does not contribute to human rights violations, nor is there a collaboration with organisations involved in human rights violations, in line with the human rights policy of Ghent University (think of defence companies producing cluster munitions or trading in weapons although they can reasonably foresee that these will be used for human rights violations)
  • The necessary measures are taken to prevent any misuse of the research at a later stage.

The Committee on Human Rights Policy and Dual Use Research advises researchers on dual use research. To limit the risk of proliferation, dual-use goods, software or technology cannot be shared with certain countries, entities or individuals, in accordance with the obligations imposed by the Flemish government.

Ghent University has developed practical guidelines for researchers involved in dual-use research.