• HMS Vanguard at Faslane naval base

    We use the best scientific expertise to inform the government and the public about issues relating to weapons of mass destruction, war and peace, the environment and the social responsibility of scientists.

  • RAF Reaper at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan

    We use the best scientific expertise to inform the government and the public about issues relating to weapons of mass destruction, war and peace, the environment and the social responsibility of scientists.

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Our Patrons

Our Patrons are:
• Lord Martin Rees OM FRS
• Sir Colin Blakemore FMedSci FRS
• Dame Athene Donald DBE FRS
• Sir Timothy Gowers FRS
• Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS
• Prof Margaret MacMillan CH
• General Sir Nick Parker KCB CBE
• Sir Hew Strachan DL FRSE FRHistS
• Prof Angela Vincent FMedSci FRS

Our Activities

Our activities include studies of science and policy issues, regular public discussion and education meetings, and engagement with politicians and government officials.

Our publications include in-depth scientific and policy research, as well as newsletters, our Annual Reports and reports from conferences and events.

Our youth wing, SYP UK, is also extremely active and publishes updates on news and events here

Our Projects

Current projects include research on the ethics of armed robotic systems, the potential impact of emerging technologies on nuclear weapon systems, the climate-nuclear nexus and continued work on future energy options for the UK.

Recent projects include the WMD Awareness public education campaign and efforts to establish a British Disarmament Institute.

Membership

British Pugwash is a membership organisation that brings together scientists and others concerned with international affairs and disarmament.

We are led by our Executive Committee and receive the support of seven Patrons.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee comprises:

• Peter Jenkins CMG (Chairman)
• Dr Ian Crossland (Treasurer)
• Andrew Gibson (Secretary)
• Dr. Christopher Watson
• Dr David Ellwood
• Dr Mamdouh El-Shanawany
• Anuradha Damale
• Sally Milne
• Dr Richard Guthrie

Latest publications, events and news

Call for Presentations: Technology & Peace Conference (SYP UK)

  • SYP UK Annual Conference // 12th February 2022 // University of Leicester
  • Call for Presentations (pdf) – here

 

Students at SYP conferenceStudent / Young Pugwash (SYP) is a network of students, researchers and younger people interested in a wide range of peace and security issues.…

New Research: On Current and Near-Future Missile Defence Systems

British Pugwash Note (Nov 2021) is below and in PDF here. The full report here.


THAAD missile defence system (plus stars)British Pugwash commissioned a study from Harry Spencer, a postgraduate scholar at the University of Birmingham, which addresses the capabilities and effectiveness of current and near-future missile defence against traditional and hypersonic missiles.…

UK public opinion on ‘First Use’ of nuclear weapons (Oct 2021)

British Pugwash note: Two Thirds of UK Public Opposed to “First Use” of Nuclear Weapons (PDF report here)


The “Interim National Security Strategic Guidance” of the United States, released on 3 March 2021, states that the Biden administration will take steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national security strategy, while ensuring that the U.S.…

hypersonic missile

VIDEO: ‘Missile Defence and Strategic Stability in the Hypersonic Age’

This year’s post-AGM Lecture was held on 22nd September.

The title was: ‘Missile Defence and Strategic Stability in the Hypersonic Age’

It was given by Harry Spencer, a postgraduate at University of Birmingham, speaking about his ongoing research with British Pugwash on missile defence systems, hypersonics and strategic stability.…

Trident submarine at Faslane

New research on climate change impacts on nuclear security

British Pugwash is pleased to release newly commissioned research about the potential impacts of climate change on the UK’s nuclear weapons infrastructure.

The report, by Dr Sally Brown from Bournemouth University, is titled ‘Risks of sea-level rise to ports and associated facilities aligning with the Trident programme: A focus on Coulport, Faslane, Barrow-in-Furness and Devonport’.

Note on Nuclear Weapon Announcements in the UK’s Integrated Review of Security (May 2021)

The below is a summary of and link to a commentary by Ambassador Peter Jenkins, Chair of British Pugwash. 

Summary

The United Kingdom government recently announced, in the context of an integrated policy review, that it will move to an overall nuclear weapon stockpile of no more than 260 (from a previous target of no more than 180) and that it will extend its longstanding policy of deliberate ambiguity by no longer making public figures for its operational stockpile, deployed warheads and deployed missiles.…

April 2021 Newsletter – British Pugwash

Topics covered in the British Pugwash April 2021 Newsletter include:

  • OxPeace 2021 – Peace in the Nuclear Era (Conference) – 15th May
  • British Pugwash Lecture at Hay – Margaret MacMillan – 1st June
  • A selection of articles from around the web
  • VIDEO – Cyber & Digital in Warfare (SYP UK workshop)

The newsletter can be found online here

British Pugwash statement on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (March 2021)

British Pugwash is troubled to note the UK Government’s decisions, announced in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, to increase the UK’s stockpile of nuclear warheads and no longer to reveal the number of these weapons that will be kept operational.…

VIDEO: Ethics & Digital – Feminist cybersecurity and Decolonising AI (5th Nov)

In this SYP UK webinar, Dr Kanta Dihal (Leverhulme Future of Intelligence Centre) discussed her work on Decolonising AI and Julia Slupska (Digital Ethics Lab) talked about feminist cybersecurity.

The Chair was Niamh Healy (UCL), SYP UK President.…

face with stars in brain image

VIDEO: Science and Indigenous Peoples (24th Nov)

In this webinar, SYP UK hosted Riley Taitingfong and Dr Hilding Neilson discussed science and technology from the perspective of Indigenous communities.

Riley Taitingfong, a PhD candidate at UCSD (here), introduced her work on gene drives on Pacific Ocean islands in the context of historic and ongoing impacts of settler colonialism and military experimentation.…

Digital eyeball image

VIDEO: Codes for Coders – Killer robots, ethics and the law (17th Nov)

This SYP webinar looked at the role of tech workers and STEM students in efforts to challenge the rise of lethal autonomous weapons (‘killer robots’).

Our guest speaker was Taniel Yusef (WILPF UK), who is researching the views of and current regulatory frameworks for STEMists working on robot-relevant tech.…

Adina Pintilie

VIDEO: Ethical responsibility in open source (nuclear) research (9th Nov)

In this webinar, SYP UK hosted Adina Pintilie, who specialises in applying open sources to research tasks at Ridgeway Information (bio here). Her work involves finding new tools and refining novel research techniques, particularly supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).…

Report & Briefings: Pugwash workshop on hypersonic weapons

hypersonic missileIn December 2019, International Pugwash hosted a workshop on hypersonic weapons in Geneva.

The meeting brought together 30 participants from various continents, including current and former government officials, scientists, engineers, academics and experts from think tanks and other non-governmental organisations.…

Sahil Shah

VIDEO: Iran and Nuclear Weapons (SYP webinar)

On 3rd August (5pm), Student/Young Pugwash (SYP) hosted its third webinar.

The guest speaker was Sahil Shah, a Policy Fellow at the European Leadership Network and expert on the Iran Nuclear Deal (‘JCPOA’).…

Robot with UK flag

Video: Killer robots? (SYP Webinar)

SYP UK held its second webinar, on the ethical, political and technical issues around lethal autonomous weapons (or ‘killer robots’), on 30th June 2020.

Speakers included:

  • Laura Nolan, a software engineer who recently resigned from Google in protest over its involvement with the US DoD’s ‘Project Maven’ – Starts at 0min20s – Slides here
  • Elizabeth Minor, an Advisor at Article 36, an NGO that works to develop new legal standards to prevent civilian harm from weapons – Starts at 20mins30s – Slides here
  • David Ellwood, a theoretical physicist, mathematician, and Exec Committee member of British Pugwash (former Research Director of the Clay Mathematics Institute) – Starts at 37mins – Slides here

The webinar was chaired by Orlanda Gill, a University of Warwick graduate.…

Sebastian Brixey-Williams

Video: The pandemic and non-proliferation (SYP webinar)

SYP UK held its first webinar, on the topic how COVID-19 is affecting the fields of arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament (16th June 2020)

The guest speaker was Sebastian Brixey-Williams, Co-Director of the arms control think tank British American Security Information Council (BASIC).…