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Statement from Professor Gordon Marshall, Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading – University of Reading

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Statement from Professor Gordon Marshall, Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading

Release Date 22 November 2006

The University of Reading Council has decided with regret to close the University's Department of Physics in 2010. Council members voted 18 for the closure, five against, with one abstention. The Department has an excellent teaching record. The commitment of its staff is admirable. However, a combination of under-funding and limited student demand for basic science nationally has undermined the long-term viability of the Department, in common with that of many other university science departments which have also closed during the past decade. The interests of staff, and the welfare and teaching of existing physics students at Reading will be a priority until the Department closes. The University remains committed to the sciences in general, and will continue to make a substantial contribution to the Science Base of the UK as a whole. The recent launch of the new Walker Institute for the study of climate change is an example of enhanced investment in a particular scientific activity. The new and successful School of Pharmacy is another. Substantial physics activity will continue at Reading, for example in the areas of Meteorology, Electronic Engineering and Cybernetics, and the University will continue to train physics teachers at its Institute of Education. Other 'strategically important and vulnerable subjects' which the University supports include Chemistry, Land-Based Subjects and Modern Languages. Regrettably, in an increasingly difficult resource environment, a research-intensive university such as Reading cannot continue to support all of the science and technology disciplines in which we may have been involved in the past, unless the funding for these activities improves significantly on a sustained footing and (in some cases) the pattern of student demand changes. ends Lucy Ferguson, senior press officer 0118 378 7388

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