RSC protests closure of university chemistry department

10 March 2006

If reports emerging from the University of Sussex are true and it is to axe its highly-rated chemistry degree, this will see the end of one of the top-rated departments of chemistry in the UK. 

Reports say that the vice-chancellor of the university announced the decision early this afternoon to a group of academics in the presence of the university's personnel director.

Chief Executive of the RSC Dr Richard Pike said: "The chemistry department at the University of Sussex has great lustre and pedigree as demonstrated in its 5-rating for research, a top department for teaching and home to the work of two Nobel Laureates. 

"The RSC believes that no university can claim to be a real university without chemistry. It is a universally accepted premise around the world that chemistry is the central science in the absence of which there is a void that affects a campus.

"The vice-chancellor is making attempts to contact a number of interested parties about the closure including ourselves and we cannot comment in any more detail until we have had those discussions. The RSC is told that the university is planning to build upon a Chemical Biology programme but at the moment have no details."

The University of Sussex not only has a coveted 5-rating - there is only one rating higher which is a 5* -  in the last national research assessment exercise; it also benefited from the renown of the great Nobel Prize winning chemist Professor Sir Harry Kroto, who co-discovered the molecule C60 known as Buckminsterfullerene while working at Brighton.

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