Chemistry cuts will prove toxic 3

March 24, 2006

It can be of no surprise that yet another chemistry department is closing. And it is some vice-chancellors who must share in the blame, although not quite for the reasons given by Peter Atkins.

The case of Sussex University, which has doubled student intake and has a 40 per cent increase in the number of applications, shows that shortages of students to generate income is rarely the root cause of science course closures.

The problem is the stupidity of overselective research funding, encouraged by the Russell Group, which results in only the research elite being able to afford the research environment that is so critical to knowledge-driven subjects such as chemistry.

Sussex won't be the last university to close a science department by a long way. Just wait until the next research assessment exercise bites - and hold tight when the £3,000 fee cap is raised.

Mike Goldstein Chairman of Heist

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