King’s brings back chemistry

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This is cross-posted from the Nature News Blog on behalf of Katharine Sanderson

Eight years after its shock exit, chemistry at King’s College London has made a surprise return.

The university closed its chemistry department in 2003, a move that angered the UK’s chemistry community, and was a continuing trend of the times, with at least 6 other departments closing around the same time.

Since then, King’s academics with chemistry expertise have been working in different departments, including physics, and biomedical sciences.

But now those dispersed chemists are to be united in a reincarnated King’s College London chemistry department. The new department lists 38 staff members who are already in position in other King’s departments and will be appointing five new members of staff. The department is introducing an undergraduate degree, MSci in chemistry with biomedicine, which will take its first batch of students in 2012.

The announcement came quietly, with the new website for the department going live to little or no fanfare earlier this week, although a bigger announcement is due once the job adverts for the five new positions are published on 7 September.

The move comes at a time when UK universities are under pressure to find the money to fund lab-based courses. The 1994 group, which includes 19 research-heavy universities has warned that chemistry, physics and chemical engineering could become too expensive for universities to run.