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This guidance and support is available to help protect your research (and your research reputation) from the impact of potential misuse.

When considering the security of their research against potential threats, researchers are encouraged to review the following considerations throughout their work:

Are you being targeted?


Researchers should be aware of the Current cyber security threat to UK universities and academia.

Your personal data and intellectual property could be under threat from cyber criminals.

Could your research make you a target?


Your ideas could be valuable to specific kinds of people and it is important that you consider the consequences of what would happen if your research fell into the wrong hands.

If your research could make you a target, think about the appropriate steps you need to take to protect your research, including your personal and data security.

Could your work end up in the wrong hands?

To prevent potential misuse of your research, make sure all elements of your work are kept secure. Keep up to date with the latest regulations and store data, personal information and other parts of your research securely.

How could your research be used?

Research may be applied in different ways that weren’t intended. Think about how research results could be used and consider how to prevent partners or other people with access to research from doing this inappropriately

Who is funding your research?


When considering the suitability of a proposed research funder, consider:

  • What controls are in place to mitigate any conflicts of interest and to make clear who owns the research? Consideration should be given to what funders can do with the research.
  • What interest they represent and whether they conflict with yours or those of the University.

How well do you know your research partners?


The University provides support to help youplan research partnerships; however it is ultimately the responsibility of each researcher to consider who is getting involved in their work.

Before commencing a new partnership, you should look into the background and connections of potential partners and be clear on:

  • Whether and how they represent or are connected with other organisations/ countries
  • Whether they have any conflicts of interest with other research.

If anything changes during a partnership, or if you have cause for concern a further review should be carried out.

Consider, if the wrong people had access to your work, what might they be able to do with it?

Are you putting your reputation at risk?


Security breaches, inappropriate or unethical use of research or dubious funding sources can all impact on your reputation as a researcher. They can make securing future roles and funding more difficult.

Securing your research


When considering the security of your research, think beyond cyber security issues and attempts to breach the systems you use. Consider more broadly the above elements to ensure that your research and your data (personal and research data) are protected from falling into the wrong hands and be subject to misuse.