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Press release


  • 11 March 2006

INVESTING IN EXCELLENCE AT SUSSEX


The University of Sussex has been developing strategic proposals to invest in excellence in research and teaching. These plans are driven by forward-looking academic strategy, informed by a firm understanding of the University's underpinning financial position and opportunities.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alasdair Smith, said: "We are committed to developing and maintaining a strong and excellent academic base across the arts and the sciences, The plans aim to improve our academic and financial performance to bring about stronger and higher quality teaching and research activity, supported by improved income growth from a wide range of sources."

The University of Sussex is proposing to make an immediate investment to start recruitment from April to 40 academic posts across a range of subjects in which Sussex is a strong and leading institution nationally - in areas such as English, history, media, music, the biosciences, psychology, informatics, maths, engineering, education, international and development studies, economics.

The plans also include proposals to focus the work of the Department of Chemistry in the areas of chemical biology and organic chemistry - areas in which we have strong research activity - and, from October 2007, to rename it as the Department of Chemical Biology.

Our strong research position across the biosciences should ensure that we continue to develop leading-edge research and teaching in this field, alongside the research we undertake in our Department of Biochemistry and our world-leading Centre for Genome Damage and Stability.

We have recently made four new appointments in the area of Chemical Biology. Research applications totalling over £1m are being made from this Chemical Biology grouping at Sussex. Over time we would expect to move to around 7 out of the current 13 academic staff employed in the department.

We also have strong possibilities for developing the intellectual property within our current Chemical Biology research, since these are areas where potential real world applications in health and medicine abound.

In relation to teaching programmes, alongside our new Chemical Biology degree we are considering the scope for new programmes in areas such as Pharmaceutical Chemistry or biomolecular science.

The University is committed to providing a full teaching programme for all current students on our chemistry undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. We are also committed to admitting a final intake of students in October 2006, although if the proposals are approved this will be the last cohort taking mainstream chemistry degrees.

The University plans to make a further investment across the University to bring in staff in 35 posts, with recruitment starting from the late summer in areas of strength and excellence. This is contingent on making savings across the University as a whole, which would be equivalent to around 45 posts. We would look to make changes as far as possible on a voluntary basis.

Professor Alasdair Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex said: "This is a forward-looking agenda for change, which brings in fresh skills and talents to the University, with an overall investment programme of £4.4m in 75 posts - around 15% of the current academic staff profile. These developments will strengthen Sussex academically and support our position as one of the UK's leading research-led Universities. The outcomes overall for the University and for our staff and students should be a welcome and positive one."

Notes for editors

  • The current Department of Chemistry at Sussex is a small department.  There are currently 13 academic staff in the Department, 20 undergraduate students in each year and 6 taught postgraduates and (over 6 years of intakes) 46 PG research student on the books (the latter including continuation students).
  • Chemical Biology is a leading area of development at the interface between chemistry and biology where exciting new opportunities exist.  Chemical Biology seeks to employ chemical techniques to answer biological questions and to develop new small molecules to intervene in biological processes. 
  • Proposals have been developed over the current spring term and were presented to our Strategy and Resources Committee on 10 March, and will go to Senate on 17 March and to Council on 24 March.  We will be presenting proposals generally to staff and students at Sussex from Monday 13 March, the first opportunity to do so since they were presented to the Committee on Friday 10 March. 

 

Press office contacts: Director of Communications, Rob Read

Mob: 07799 644942,

Senior Press Officer: Jacqui Bealing,

Office: 01273 877437, Mob: 07906 7614437

Press Officer Maggie Clune:

Office:  01273 678209

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