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Surprise, surprise. Sussex backs chemistry

Over the past few weeks, the leadership of the University of Sussex, in England, has faced a barrage of criticism from scientists, media and linkurl:politicians;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23404/ over plans to linkurl:reshape its chemistry department;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23404/ in favor of biological chemistry. The planned restructuring, widely seen as the brainchild of vice chancellor Alasdair Smith, was denigrated by a Nobel Laureate, protested against by st

By | May 15, 2006

Over the past few weeks, the leadership of the University of Sussex, in England, has faced a barrage of criticism from scientists, media and linkurl:politicians;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23404/ over plans to linkurl:reshape its chemistry department;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23404/ in favor of biological chemistry. The planned restructuring, widely seen as the brainchild of vice chancellor Alasdair Smith, was denigrated by a Nobel Laureate, protested against by students and ripped to shreds by members of the House of Commons. The good news for everyone, then, is that the university's council agreed today to support a plan that will see chemistry surviving--albeit as part of a departmental merger with biochemistry. The decision is not surprising in iteself, and had been linkurl:trailed;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23404/ by the University last week. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the whole thing is that Smith has turned into the plan's biggest supporter. In a press release on Friday, he said: "I have always made clear that I hoped the outcome of the process will be to secure a strong future for chemistry at Sussex." The University's Senate last week "overwhelmingly" agreed that the approach "proposed by the Vice-Chancellor" was the way ahead, according to the release. The plan which now has the support of the vice chancellor will see investment in up to 11 posts across the life sciences - in chemistry and biochemistry, biology and environmental science, genomics and psychology. It could be approved by the Council in June.
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