Sussex seeks new talent, but axe must fall to pay bill

April 7, 2006

Sussex University has announced plans to create up to 75 new academic posts as part of a £4.4 million programme of "academic renewal".

The first 20 jobs, advertised in The Times Higher this week, follow the university's announcement of controversial plans to "refocus" chemistry, which could mean the department being merged with biology.

The posts advertised cover science and technology, humanities, social and cultural studies, and education, and include up to seven chairs.

A further 20 posts are to be advertised in May, followed by another 35 in the late summer.

Alasdair Smith, Sussex's vice-chancellor, said the university was looking to appoint "outstanding academic staff" to help develop areas of "excellence and strength" in the university.

He said: "We see this as an exciting opportunity to be part of a university that is focusing on its strengths and investing further in areas of established academic excellence."

In the first wave of appointments, Sussex hopes to fill posts in computing, mathematics, engineering, English, history, media, music, American studies, philosophy, development economics and education.

Ben du Boulay, dean of science and technology, said the appointments made "a real statement of confidence in science at Sussex".

He said: "We are putting investment into areas such as mathematics, which has seen applications rise by 10 per cent this year. We are bringing in strong new leadership in our engineering and informatics department. This is about planning for the future."

Funding for the posts will partly come from savings made by making up to 60 academics redundant across several disciplines by the summer. It is not clear, however, where the redundancies will fall.

Following Professor Smith's initial announcement about the chemistry department, a working group was set up to consider options for its future.

A decision is due to be made by the university's council on May 15.

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