PRESS RELEASE: Department Closure is Short Sighted, says NPC

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National Postgraduate Committee responds to Sussex move to close Chemistry Department.

"The National Postgraduate Committee upon hearing about the downgrading of The University of Sussex's chemistry department would like to state the following:

In the past year, a number of universities have closed down their chemistry departments, citing the high cost of physical facilities and reduction in the undergraduate numbers taking the course as the reasons. However, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering has always been an endeavour that has been associated more with research than undergraduate training and as such is a field that has received large amounts of funding from both government and private industry. We agree with The Royal Society of Chemistrys premise that around the world chemistry is the central science in the absence of which there is a void that affects a campus.

The United Kingdom is facing competition in all areas of its economy from nations such as India and China and other developing countries. These are nations that take science and technology seriously and not only promote the growth of these fields as being integral to their economy, but send many of their brightest and best students to the UK to study in these fields in the hope of gaining knowledge for the greater good of their development. Therefore, for universities in the United Kingdom to close down traditional research departments in favour of more popular courses that do not have a direct benefit to the development of science and technology in the United Kingdom, is short sighted and runs the risk of eroding an area of expertise that the UK has traditionally led the world in.

The National Postgraduate committee condemns the moves at the University of Sussex to close the chemistry department which has rising undergraduate numbers and improving prospects to create a department of Chemical Biology resulting in the loss of not only expertise but seven staff positions as well. With the closure of Chemistry departments in University of Exeter, Kings College and Queen Mary in London, and the University of Wales Swansea we feel that shortsighted decision making is affecting the UK research community for the worse and eroding our expertise in many fields.

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Notes to Editors:

  • For more information, or to speak to the NPC, please contact Simon Felton, General Secretary on 0121 251 2499 or email s.felton@bugs.bham.ac.uk or Duncan Connors, Communications Officer on 07787561133 or email duncanconnors@hotmail.com
  • The National Postgraduate Committee (NPC) is a charity that represents the interests of over 500,000 postgraduate students in the UK. NPC is committed to enhancing and the improving the lives and experiences of postgraduate students in the UK, ensuring their voices are heard and effectively represented.