Alex Edney-BrowneA MELBOURNE activist and academic will speak in Newcastle on Saturday night on what she says are the increasing links between the weapons industry and n universities.

Alex Edney-Browne, who has written and lectured extensively on she calls “themilitarisation of education”, is the guest speaker at the Hunter Broad Left’s annual Red Flag Dinner at Carrington Bowling Club.

MsEdney-Browne is in the final stages of a PhD in International Studies at the University of Melbourne, looking at the psycho-social effects of drone warfare on the Afghan civilian population and US military drone operators alike.

Ms Edney-Browne said it had become obvious that the supposed“surgical precision” of drone warfare was a“dangerous myth” that overlooked a high civilian casualty rate and the“psychological torment” experienced by the operators.

On thelinks between military funding and academia, Ms Edney-Browne said universities were places that should teach the resolution of conflict through more peaceful means.

“Universities should not be doing research that contributes to the death of people,” Ms Edney-Browne said.

She said a number of n universities had embarked on joint ventures or partnerships with big weapons companies including Lockheed Martin, Thales, Raytheon and BAE.

She said these companies liked to call themselves“defence” manufacturers but they were really about promoting war, not defence.

Hunter Broad Left spokesperson Rod Noble said the group was bringing Ms Edney-Browne to Newcastle after hearing her at a peace conference in Melbourne.

“This is very relevant to us here in Newcastle, given the proximity of the RAAF base at Williamtown and the links that the University of Newcastle has already established with the RAAF and some of the major companies,” Mr Noble said.

A conjoint lecturer in health sciences at the university, Mr Noble said it was time that university ethics committees looked more closely at some of the research that was being approved at n universities.

For its part, Newcastle Universityisforging closer links with the defence sector, and in one example announced a newBachelor of Aerospace Engineering (Honours) degree in August, developed“with input from key industry partners” including the RAAF, Boeing and BAE.

“Graduates . . .will be highly qualified for positions within aircraft design and manufacturing companies, n and international airlines, airworthiness organisations and the n Defence Force as aerospace, satellite and systems engineers,” the university says on its website.

Mr Noble said Saturday’s dinner started at 7pm, with the bistro and bar open from 6pm.

Previous Broad Left dinners

US influence greatly outweighs China’s, says Sydney academic

Burgmann calls ASIO ‘incompetent, offensive and inefficient’

Pat O’Shane at Red Flag dinner