Lancaster University

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Lancaster University announces new Department of Chemistry

11/18/2011 00:00:00

Lancaster University has announced the establishment of a new Department of Chemistry, which will see students admitted to a new undergraduate degree in chemistry in October 2013.

A Head of Department will be appointed as soon as possible to drive the development forward and it is expected that up to 25 new members of staff will be hired in the first major phase of development.

The new department will establish a challenging research-led MChem degree programme, which will build on Lancaster research and take advantage of industry relationships and placements. The programme will seek full accreditation by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Moving to a chemistry department and to a full chemistry degree will enable Lancaster to recruit additional strong science students, both from the UK and abroad, in a market where the numbers of applications to study chemistry in research-led universities are increasing.

Lancaster already has strong chemistry-led research activity in important areas targeting major societal issues. These include environmental chemistry, nuclear chemistry, physical chemistry for nanoscience, and biological chemistry within biophotonics, and the University is also currently developing a chemical engineering programme.

 The new department will build on the strengths in analytical chemistry which exist in these areas and on strong computational work in partnership with our top rated Physics Department.

Lancaster University has a strong tradition of working across disciplines and the new chemistry department will from its inception be linked closely to Lancaster Environment Centre, Engineering , Physics, and to the Faculty of Health and Medicine, so that it can deepen the interdisciplinary work of scientists, engineers and social scientists across the university.

Professor Mary Smyth, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology said: “In Science and Technology at Lancaster we carry out excellent research, our teaching is research led and attractive to home and international students, and we search actively for business partnerships to extend the impact of our work and to help us develop it. 

"Chemistry, in selected areas, will enhance our ability to address major scientific problems, to respond to calls for cross disciplinary projects from research councils and others, to bring in industry research funds, to attract strong science students in a range of areas, and to offer new and exciting international relationships, both for teaching and research. “

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, welcomed the news:

"This news from Lancaster University will be greeted enthusiastically by everybody at the RSC and in the wider chemistry community around the country. 

"The resurgence of chemistry at Lancaster, with its excellent reputation for innovation, provides yet more evidence of the dramatic return of chemistry’s popularity nationally.

“We believe that school-leavers and those advising them now recognise the opportunities in chemistry, which can provide a lucrative career as well as a fascinating university experience.

“A chemistry department at Lancaster will help address challenges around agricultural productivity,  water quality,  conservation of scarce natural resources, energy conversion and storage, nuclear energy and waste, solar energy, sustainable product design, diagnostics, and drug therapies. This is all to be welcomed.”

The Chemistry Department at Lancaster was closed in 1999 at a time when chemistry departments were being closed across the UK.  However, the numbers of young people taking chemistry at A-level has increased significantly in the last eight years and the numbers of applications to study chemistry at university are also increasing.

The Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willetts has praised Lancaster University as forward thinking for reopening its Department of Chemistry, in a speech at the Social Market Foundation Higher Education Conference.