RSC chief on BBC Today and Newsnight programmes
05 May 2006
The chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Dr Richard Pike, has called on the Government to change the funding formula for university chemistry departments and to promote and emphasise the importance of chemistry for the future.
A report from the Commons Science and Technology Committee has expressed concern about plans by Sussex University to close its chemistry department and the committee has also criticised the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for failing to provide effective support.
Dr Pike was on the Newsnight Show (04 May 2006) which ran a lengthy item on why chemistry was essential to the future health and wealth of the UK.
Earlier, speaking on BBC Radio Four's 'Today' Dr Pike said all chemistry departments in the UK operated at a deficit because the funding did not meet the costs of running the department.
"The more important outcome of this report, I consider, is that vice-chancellors should never again be put in the position of having to, in a sense, juggle finances by cross-subsidisation," he said.
"And really there needs to be more engagement between universities and HEFCE to make sure that deficits are not run up and that a more strategic approach be taken to chemistry."
Dr Pike stressed the need to link funding with the promotion of chemistry as "really underpinning what's going to happen in the future" and this, he said, had to start in schools.
"It's to do with energy, the environment, sustainability, food, medicine. Really one has to ask the question how can one have an informed debate unless a greater proportion of the population understand about chemistry and that there is a much larger core that can actually implement work to do with the chemical sciences," he said.
According to Dr Pike, applications to study chemistry at Sussex University had increased by 40%.
Today Programme Radio 4
Listen to Dr Richard Pike talking on the Today programme 4 May 2006
Strategic Science Provision in English Universities: A Follow-up
Report from the Science and Technology Committee, April 2006
BBC Newsnight featured a news item on the importance of chemistry to Britain, in which RSC chief executive Richard Pike made the case for funding the science properly
External links will open in a new browser window
Contact and Further Information
Media Relations Manager
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BA
Tel: +44 (0)20 7440 3317 or +44 (0) 7966 939257
Fax: +44 (0)20 7437 8883