Coventry University's chemistry department closure
23 May 2005
The Royal Society of Chemistry told radio listeners in the West Midlands this week that the closure of Coventry University's chemistry department was an important issue regionally and nationally.
"This development is a matter of considerable regret, not just for us, but for the region which the university serves. Local industry and commerce all over the UK benefits by active involvement with chemical scientists at local universities," said the RSC spokesperson.
"We were aware of the threat to chemistry at the university for about six months. During that period we had expressed our concern to the university chemistry department and to the vice-chancellor herself.
"Our main message is that more money must be invested in campus chemistry in the UK to ensure that our subject flourishes. Without thriving chemistry communities in its universities, this country's health and wealth will be affected in the years and decades to come.
"The Royal Society of Chemistry has pressed, and continues to press, the Government for better university funding so that vice-chancellors are not tempted to close down chemistry, which we acknowledge to be more expensive to maintain than many subjects. Chemistry might cost more to run but it is vital to British industry and commerce."
The university, reported the BBC, decided to place an emphasis upon its work in forensic and investigative science rather than on mainstream chemistry.
The RSC representative said: "We point out that this past week also saw a very encouraging counterweight to the Coventry withdrawal, when the University of Central Lancashire announced it was to reopen its BSc Chemistry course eight years after closing it.
"So it might well be that within a short spell Coventry will come to realise that chemistry is a vital part of a university's portfolio, being the core and underpinning science which informs and reflects on all the others. And it is our sincere hope that the Government will reflect upon the Coventry development and recognise the urgent need for greater science funding."
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