NUS calls to end Ahava and King's College project

By Jessica Elgot, December 1, 2011
Ahava's shop in Covent Garden closed following protests

Ahava's shop in Covent Garden closed following protests

The National Union of Students executive has unanimously voted to condemn King’s College London and demand that it ceases participation in a research project with Israeli cosmetics company Ahava.

King’s College Palestine Campaign organised a petition with 1,000 signatures, included Noam Chomsky and pro-Palestinian campaigner Omar Barghouti.

Support was pledged by the Universities and Colleges Union representative at King’s College.

This week the NUS National Executive Council passed a motion demanding “the immediate end of the university’s involvement in the project, and the rejection of the financial grant King’s has received for its participation.”

The motion passed said students “strongly urge King’s College London to re-evaluate its commitments to ethical research, and establish a formal ethical research policy, to prevent a similar situation from arising in the future that compromises the university’s integrity and respect for international law.”

The university is part of a four-year European Commission - approved research project, into potential risks that “nanomaterial” (microscope man-made cells which may be used to treat illness in future) could affect human health and the environment.

King’s College is one of the partners on the NanoReTox project, as is Ahava, Imperial College London, the Natural History Museum, and universities from Denmark, France, Spain, Belgium and Italy.

A spokesman for the college said: “King’s College London is a minor partner, along with eleven other international partners from academia, government and industry.

"King’s is supplying risk communications expertise on the project and has no involvement with Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories. The project, which will be completed in 2012 is a significant piece of research.”

Last updated: 1:41pm, December 1 2011