News Date: Tuesday 21st March 2006
Tim raises concern over closure of Sussex University's Chemistry Department
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton has tabled a Parliamentary Motion expressing his alarm at the announcement that Sussex University is to close its successful chemistry department.
The department is to close despite being awarded a grade 5 rating under the University standards monitoring system and having attracted academic staff of world renown, including two Nobel prize winners.
"The closure of yet another University's chemistry department should ring alarm bells across the country; the decline in the number of physical science students will have a major detrimental effect on the future success of the UK's economy and its international competitiveness. If Britain is to continue as a centre of excellence for scientific discovery efforts need to be focussed on reversing the decline in the number of applicants accepting places to study chemistry at university.
"Sussex University has served my constituents admirably and I know it is a great disappointment to many of them that the university authorities have felt that they had no choice but to make this decision. Many of my fellow Sussex MPs have also signed this Parliamentary motion and I hope that the attention it receives will increase the pressure on the Government to the ensure that no further chemistry departments are closed down."
Note to Editors:
1) The full text of the EDM tabled by Tim is as follows:
CLOSURE OF SUSSEX UNIVERSITY'S CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT
That this House expresses regret at Sussex University's decision to close its successful chemistry department despite being awarded a grade 5 rating under the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) which monitors university standards and attracting academic staff of world renown, including two Nobel prize winners; notes the discrepancy between this closure and applications to the Sussex University chemistry course being 34 per cent. higher than the average increase in applications for university places; is alarmed that this closure is part of a worrying general trend in closure of chemistry departments nationally; is concerned that not enough is being done to reverse the decline in the number of applicants accepting places to study chemistry; and further notes that this decline in teaching physical sciences will have major detrimental effects on the future success of the UK's economy, its international competitiveness and on future scientific developments.
Tim Loughton MP , 2006