Monday, October 09, 2006

Reading closure will waste public money

Reading closure will waste public money
Institute of Physics
09 October 2006
Over five million pounds of public money wasted if Reading University’s physics department closes
"Reading University is making a precipitous and ill-judged action in proposing to close its physics department” Professor Peter Main, director of science at the Institute of Physics, said today before a meeting with the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Gordon Marshall. “Academics in the department have been successful in attracting over £5 million in investment in the last few years – money that will be wasted if the department is forced to close.”
The university’s physics department has a £1million grant to deliver a state-of-the-art laser laboratory. A further £1 million of external funds is earmarked to build upon Reading physics department’s teaching strengths. It is a key partner in a three-university consortium to provide the UK’s only centre of excellence for physics teaching and learning; closure would mean the loss of key expertise.
“In March this year, the government published its plans for the UK science base in a document entitled, “Next steps”, in which it planned to build on innovative science research and to preserve and enhance essential subjects such as physics”, Peter Main went on, “How can we have meaningful long-term strategy when a university vice-chancellor can make a unilateral decision in this way?”
The chief executive of the Institute of Physics, Dr Bob Kirby-Harris, will meet Professor Marshall, the university’s vice-chancellor, today (9 October) to urge him to consider the regional and national strategic provision of this vital subject.
“To close Reading University’s physics department would threaten the jobs of talented researchers; threaten significant numbers of students in this important subject; and will waste millions of public investment in a department that has a crucial role to play in training the physicists of the future”, said Kirby-Harris. “We must hope that we can persuade Professor Marshall that there is a better way forward to safeguard the public investment made in his university”.

Notes to Editors
Reading University’s physics department has received the following grants and investments:-
Centre of excellence for teaching and learning (consortium with Leicester & Open University), total investment £2.4M of which £1M was based at Reading (HEFCE)
UltraFast Laser Laboratory £1M (HEFCE)
Nano science centre £200,000 (Royal Society)
Centre for Advanced Microscopy £1.5M (SRIF)
Refurbishing undergraduate laboratories £300,000 (SRIF)
Current EPSRC contracts with six new grants in physics (since Oct 2005) £1.7M

2 Comments:

Blogger CHIC-HANDSOME said...

lif just a good

6:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this Blog still active? Where have all the Friends of Reading Dept of Physics gone???

So, the decision to close has been confirmed. But efforts can still be made to ensure dignity in the Dept's remaining days.

Plus, there is still the bigger picture. In the economic rationalist paradigm of today, within which Scientific learning and research must operate, solutions need to be found. How should Science respond to fiscally-based decisions? What can be salvaged from this situation?

1:08 pm  

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