Job cuts at The University of ReadingBy Laura Herbert
March 15, 2010
Jobs are set to be axed at The University of Reading to cut costs and help it “emerge stronger and more competitive”.
The posts will go from subjects including computer science, electronics, cybernetics, biology, engineering and chemistry.
Recommendations so far are that environmental biology lose three to five positions, biomedical sciences two to four and chemistry two to four.
The job losses are part of the university’s plans to save £10.6 million after the Government announced a £1 billion cut to Higher Education (HE) funding.
Alex Brannen, university spokesman, said: “As part of The University of Reading’s response to the major economic challenges facing HE, we have been working with our staff to save £10.6 million while ensuring the university emerges stronger and more competitive as a result.
“Research in science is a real strength of our university and we are determined the savings needed will not undermine this.”
“We are conducting great research in climate science, food and nutritional science and neurology, for example, and also in some areas of systems engineering – we want to protect them.”
Mr Brannen said the university had begun making savings in systems engineering, with recommendations that six to 12 academic staff posts and five to 10 support staff are cut.
He said: “The Review of the School of Systems Engineering, which performed disappointingly in the latest Research Assessment Exercise, but
which also boasts areas of individual and collective excellence, was based on our determination to provide a positive foundation on which to build a strong and reinvigorated School of Systems Engineering.”
He added: “We have also identified the need to make savings of between two and five posts in the areas of environmental biology, biomedical sciences and chemistry.
“The university strives to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible.
“Specific recommendations will be presented to the university’s Governing body, the Council, on Friday.”
Fewer posts are to be cut at Reading than other universities such as London Metropolitan where 550 posts will go and 700 posts at Leeds.
But the University and College Union (UCU) criticised the move.
UCU Reading branch president Tim Astin said: “Even by management’s own standards these decisions are rash and will come back to haunt the university. The vice-chancellor has failed to make a coherent academic case for taking a wrecking ball to the sciences.
“This is another huge blow for staff and students. It seems no subject is safe at Reading.”
The university is not closing departments but will spend money in its strongest areas. Not all savings are staff posts and will be made across the university.