Lancaster to open new chemistry department

A new Department of Chemistry is to be established at Lancaster University, more than a decade after its old department was closed.

November 18, 2011

Lancaster is seeking to recruit up to 25 new staff, including a head of department, in order to launch a new undergraduate degree in chemistry in 2013. It will also establish a research-led MChem degree programme.

The move comes 12 years after Lancaster closed its old Department of Chemistry.

It says in a statement released today that the decision in 1999 was made at a time when chemistry departments were being closed across the UK.

“However, the numbers of young people taking chemistry at A-level has increased significantly in the last eight years and the numbers of applications to study chemistry at university are also increasing,” it adds.

It says that its decision has been driven by a desire to “recruit additional strong science students, both from the UK and abroad, in a market where the numbers of applications to study chemistry in research-led universities are increasing”.

The university already has researchers working in such fields as environmental chemistry, nuclear chemistry, physical chemistry for nanoscience and biological chemistry within biophotonics. It is also developing a chemical engineering programme.

Mary Smyth, dean of the faculty of science and technology, said: “Chemistry, in selected areas, will enhance our ability to address major scientific problems, to respond to calls for cross-disciplinary projects from research councils and others, to bring in industry research funds, to attract strong science students in a range of areas, and to offer new and exciting international relationships, both for teaching and research.”

Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “This news will be greeted enthusiastically by everybody at the RSC and in the wider chemistry community around the country.

“The resurgence of chemistry at Lancaster, with its excellent reputation for innovation, provides yet more evidence of the dramatic return of chemistry’s popularity nationally.”

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