New chemistry degree is excellent news, says Royal Society of Chemistry
16 May 2005
The Royal Society of Chemistry has given an enthusiastic welcome to news that the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is to reintroduce a full chemistry degree within two years.
Dr Simon Campbell, President of the RSC, said today: "We are delighted to have received confirmation of the reinstatement of chemistry degrees from the university's Dean of Science, Professor Dave Phoenix. The Dean had already taken me through his plans before the public announcement and he knows of our wholehearted support and good wishes for this exciting resurgence of chemistry at UCLan."
Professor Phoenix, a Fellow of the RSC, was aware of the requirement for a strong chemistry base to support developments across the Faculty in many subjects, such as pharmacy, biomedicine and environmental science, all of which are underpinned by chemistry.
Dr Campbell added: "This is an extremely positive and optimistic development that confirms that chemistry is not only a key core discipline, but it also underpins so many other scientific areas.
"RSC policy has been, and continues to be, to urge the Government to invest more money in science education and chemistry in particular. We recognise that chemistry is more expensive to teach than, for instance, arts or humanities courses but we have shown that economic returns to the individual and the state are higher than for most other disciplines. In addition, the chemical industry is a major manufacturing sector for the UK and there will be a critical need for chemical scientists throughout this decade and beyond.
"We applaud the decision at UCLan and we will continue to press the Government to allocate proper funding for university science, and urge vice-chancellors to protect and nurture chemistry within their own organisations."
Prof Phoenix said: "Since 1998 when we had to drop chemistry as a degree subject we have run an extremely successful forensic science degree which of course has a large chemistry component so the subject has certainly not vanished here. What we will see now is the re-emergence of a dedicated chemistry degree scheme which will complement and inform forensics but also have a life and future of its own.
"It is only due to the excellent research activities of chemists connected with this course, that the University is now in a position to reverse the national trend for closure of chemistry courses."
It also emerged this week that the university intends to link its chemistry degree with the scientific demands of decommissioning nuclear power facilities, a task in which the skills of chemical scientists are, and will increasingly be, essential.
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