Hi to everyone on the forum. I hope that it's not considered inappropriate to post this here but, as you may, or may not, know there is a proposal to effectively close the Chemistry department at Sussex University (UK). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/southern_counties/4796888.stm This is the department where Harry Kroto, in colaboration with Rick Smalley and Bob Curl of Rice, first isolated buckyballs. It's unacceptable for the following reasons: 1. The Chemistry Department is in financial surplus 2. We are one of the Highest rated departments at the University of Sussex (2 in the Guardian and 6 in the Times) 3. We have two active Nobel Prize winners and grade 5 in the latest RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) 4. There has been a 40% increase in UCAS applications this year against national increase of 5.8% 5. Sustained increase in quality of undergraduate admissions 6. Vibrant department with a healthy age profile and excellent staff student relations 7. Chemistry generates over half the University IP income (patent) of the whole university 8. Chemistry faculty generates more that 1 million per year in third stream income for the university The reasons for this proposal have nothing to do with the department, but are the province of the University administration: 1. Chronic mismanagement by senior officers (£6 million overspent) 2. Decisions made with little or no objective academic input 3. Decision to "refocus" chemistry into chemical biology is fundamentally flawed and will not succeed in the absence of a viable chemistry department 4. No market-testing of chemical biology 5. Missed business opportunities due to Management 6. Sustained diversion of chemistry RAE income into less highly rated departments 7. Malign neglect 8. Failure to retain to key, highly distinguished staff 9. Chronic failure of the senior management to respond to the concerns of chemistry faculty 10. The Dean of Life Sciences has admitted that the reorganised schools has been a disaster At a meeting on Friday, Senate effectively asked the VC, Mr Smith to come up with an alternative proposal in 6-7 weeks time. However, the struggle is obviously far from over. The Council meets on Friday and Court is directly afterwards. As I understand it, where Senate looked at the academic implications, Council and Court will consider financial matters. In addition parliament has now become involved. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/southern_counties/4815842.stm The Guardian asked for 800 words from me. This is what they published on Friday: http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/comment/story/0,,1733418,00.html Please, if you care about science in education in any country, can you take the time to write an email expressing your concerns to Alasdair Smith, email@example.com with a copy to me at firstname.lastname@example.org Finally, there are 2 online petitions here: http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/savechemistry/ and here: http://www.scas.streamlinenettrial.co.uk/public_html/SCAS/index.htm They both need signing! Phew! If you've made it this far, thanks.