Oxford University has invested £630,000 in Lockheed Martin, one of three US arms manufacturers still involved in the cluster-bomb trade.
Freedom of information requests obtained by The Independent from the Oxford Anti-War Action group reveal that Oxford University Endowment Management (OUEM) has invested more than £2m in defence companies including Northrop Grumman and European Aeronautics Defence and Space.
The Lockheed investment is particularly controversial as the US defence giant has outstanding contracts with the US military to refurbish old stocks of cluster munitions.
Britain is a signatory to the Cluster Munitions Convention, a global treaty now signed by more than 100 nations which bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster bombs.
Under a loophole in current legislation, financial institutions and private citizens can continue to back cluster-arms manufacturers, as long as they do not invest in the bombs directly.
A spokesman for the university said OUEM works to an investment list approved by a committee , which checks if companies may be in breach of UK law on landmines and cluster bombs. "Lockheed Martin is not on the prohibited investment list," the university spokesman said.
"If there is new factual evidence... that clearly demonstrates that a company has significant and current activities that would cause them to be included in this list, then this should be brought to the attention of the investment committee," he added.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies