Proposed changes in chemistry
University is making proposals to invest in areas of excellence –
across science, humanities and social sciences. Sussex is ranked in
the top 100 Universities in the world – within the top 40 in arts and
humanities and in the top 70 in the social sciences. For further
details on the investment proposals see Investing in Excellence.
The plans also include proposals to develop and strength research
and teaching in Life Sciences, recruiting new academic staff to posts
in Biochemistry, the Genome Centre, Biology and Environmental Science
These plans include focusing the work of the Department of Chemistry
in the areas of chemical biology and organic chemistry - areas in which
we have strong chemistry research activity - and, from October 2007, to
rename it as the Department of Chemical Biology.
Our strong research position across the biosciences should ensure
that we continue to develop leading-edge research and teaching in this
field, alongside the research we undertake in our Department of
Biochemistry and our world-leading Centre for Genome Damage and
We have recently made four new appointments in the area of Chemical
Biology. Research applications totalling over £1m are being made from
this Chemical Biology grouping at Sussex. Over time we would expect to
move to around 7 out of the current 13 academic staff employed in the
We also have strong possibilities for developing the intellectual
property within our current Chemical Biology research, since these are
areas where potential real world applications in health and medicine
In relation to teaching programmes, alongside our new Chemical
Biology degree we are considering the scope for new programmes in areas
such as Pharmaceutical Chemistry or biomolecular science.
The University is committed to providing a full teaching programme
for all current students on our chemistry undergraduate and
postgraduate degrees. We are also committed to admitting a final
intake of students in October 2006, although if the proposals are
approved this will be the last cohort taking mainstream chemistry
The proposals will be submitted to Senate on 17 March and Council on
24 March, following discussion at Strategy and Resources Committee on
Why change Chemistry at Sussex when it has been so strong?
Chemistry at Sussex has an outstanding academic history, having had
two Nobel prize winning members and a five rating in the Research
Assessment Exercise (RAE) for 2001. Nothing in these proposals for the
future detracts from celebrating these achievements as part of our
Nationally, Chemistry is a difficult recruitment area at
Undergraduate level, reflected in the decision by other leading
research universities to make changes to Chemistry provision in recent
years, including Exeter, Kings College London and Queen Mary's, London,
Dundee and Surrey.
At Sussex, we have lost some leading researchers to larger Chemistry
departments in recent years. Sussex has a very small department (13
full-time academics) with a small student intake (around 20 new
undergraduates per year).
Despite the good rating in the 2001 RAE (research assessment
exercise), even if we were to achieve a similar rating in the 2008 RAE,
and there is no certainty we would do so, the smaller size of our staff
numbers submitted is expected to significantly impact on subsequent
funding, and reduce sustainability.
While applications have shown a welcome growth this year, due our
league table standings, there is no guarantee this would lead to
sustained and viable numbers in the department.
Overall, retaining a chemistry department in its present form,
operating across the full discipline, would cost us an extra £750k with
no guarantee of long-term success in recruitment or research activity.
That kind of substantial investment is to be better spent supporting
our already strong academic activity in the biosciences - chemical
biology, biochemistry, biology and environmental science, Genome - and
other key science areas at Sussex.
Now i have emo rights, everything was getting itself nicely sorted and now they are closing our department. cunts