On Monday over 200 protestors gathered at a mass rally outside Senate House, organised by Cambridge Zero Carbon Society, to protest the University’s links with fossil fuel companies.

This comes after a report released last week by Cambridge Zero Carbon detailed several Cambridge-backed projects in recent years that facilitated oil extraction efforts. Varsity has also revealed that the University has removed all online associations with CASP, a research group funded entirely by subscriptions from oil and gas companies that is described as affiliated with Cambridge.

In a statement to The Guardian on the latest donation, a Cambridge spokesperson commented: “The main focus of Prof [Lynn] Gladden’s proposed research related to the gift is on supporting the transition to a zero-carbon economy by improving chemical reactions in fuel cells, electrolysers and making chemical processes for industrial use more sustainable”.

However, ‘oil recovery’ is among Gladden’s listed areas of research on her Cambridge University page, and she has led the invention of two oil exploration technologies in recent years. According to The Guardian, hydrocarbon recovery will also be among the areas researched with the donation.

In 2019, following the publication of a report by Cambridge’s working group on divestment, it emerged two members of the group, tasked with discussing whether the University should divest from the fossil fuel sector, were found to be directly involved in two major proposed donations to Cambridge in 2017 from mining and petroleum company, BHP Billiton and oil and gas company, BP.

The working group’s final report had informed the University Council’s controversial decision in 2018 to reject calls from across the University for full divestment from the fossil fuels sector.

Lazarus Tamana, European Coordinator of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), a social organisation of the indigenous Ogoni ethnic minority people of South-Eastern Nigeria, has been vocal about the complicity of companies such as Shell in climate change. Tamana said: “Shell has colluded with the Nigerian government to poison our lands, water and air for decades. Our fishermen and farmers are dying, and losing their livelihoods, only for a small elite to profit and extract resources to the Global North.

“Cambridge University should not welcome Shell to do research, buy influence, and greenwash their reputation. Shell should be in the International Court of Justice, pledging to rectify the human and environmental damage that they have brought to Ogoniland. They should not be on campus at the University of Cambridge”.