Hundreds of Sheffield staff opt for severance

August 27, 2009

More than 300 staff at the University of Sheffield have volunteered to quit their jobs and are to leave the institution by the end of November.

The university will save £13 million as a result of the departures under a voluntary severance scheme that was announced in June.

A spokeswoman said that about 320 staff - or 5 per cent of the total workforce - would be leaving over the next three months, including 67 academic staff.

The university is aiming to reduce costs by £25 million by 2011-12, with £15 million in savings coming from staff cuts.

Managers also want to increase income by boosting the number of overseas and science and engineering students, and by attracting more international research funds.

The spokeswoman said that although the sector "is facing tough times ahead", the university "is now confident that it is better prepared to face future challenges".

Meanwhile, the University of Sussex has asked senior academics to ensure that the teaching and research areas on which they focus are popular with students.

Michael Farthing, vice-chancellor, has warned that jobs may be at risk and that at least £8 million in "sustained savings" needs to be found over the next two years.

The university said: "These savings will not be achieved by implementing across-the-board reductions.

"Instead, senior academics are being asked to consider their entire teaching and research portfolio, to ensure they are focused on areas that are attractive to students and are likely to perform well in national assessments of research quality."

The university's budget for 2009-10 seeks to reduce costs by £3 million on a turnover of £160 million, with additional savings of up to £5 million in 2010-11.

Professor Farthing said: "Regrettably, the need to make savings means that some jobs could be at risk, although I must emphasise that we have no proposals of any kind as yet."

In the next academic year the institution will start to see the fruits of its first major investment campaign, with new degree programmes in business, management, economics and international security, he said.

Professor Farthing added: "Without this successful growth, the university's financial position would be significantly worse."

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