RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy
The School of Biological Sciences (BIOLS) is active in research areas ranging from ecology and conservation through structural biology to cognitive psychology. We received in excess of £27.5M in grants and contracts during the period of assessment from around 100 sponsors, including the Wellcome Trust, BBSRC, Royal Society, MRC, Nuffield Foundation, European Union, British Council and the ESRC. Successful bids to the Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF) resulted in awards for the refurbishment of the Sussex Centre for Neuroscience (£3.6m), a new building to house the Sussex Centre for Genome Damage and Stability (£8.7m) and the establishment of the Sussex Centre for Advanced Microscopy (£1.6m). Funds were also awarded for structural biology from the Royal Society/Wolfson Foundation Laboratory Refurbishment Grant Scheme to refurbish 600 m2 of laboratory space for X-ray crystallography studies. Under the Joint Research Equipment Initiative (JREI) grants were received for image analysis, an analytical ultra-centrifuge facility, the establishment of a facility for macromolecular X-ray crystallography, high performance computers and for a microarray facility for functional genomics. The research we have conducted has resulted in some 900 papers in refereed journals and a total of over 1400 publications in the period 1996 to 2000.
BIOLS has 8,000 m2 of laboratory and office space, with technical support from 46 members of (HEFCE-funded) staff. The School has mechanical and electronic workshops and animal and plant growth facilities. School support staff develop the computing facilities, manage our library (with 450 journals) and the ordering and supply of consumable items and equipment.
Apart from research carried out by scientists on fixed-term contracts (78 within the School), research is also conducted by postgraduate students. These students (150) who are registered with the Graduate Research Centre (GRC) in Biological Sciences have the same laboratory facilities as other members of staff. During their first year, research students participate in the GRC’s Graduate Training Programme, a series of lectures and seminars that provides in research and career skills such as tutoring and demonstrating, research methods and techniques, experimental design and statistics, computing, library and presentation skills, project management, career development and health and safety. Throughout their studies, graduate students attend weekly seminars and lectures by outside speakers and research staff.
The University supports its staff with a centrally managed Staffing Services Division, a Welfare Office and an Occupational Health Service. Within the School, the careers of academic staff are supported particularly through the provision of excellent facilities for conducting research. Career development is further supported through biennial appraisal and access to staff development funds – both provided from the School’s budget and from funds managed by a central Staff Development Unit. All members of our teaching faculty are on permanent contracts. Staff on fixed-term contracts have access to the same facilities. Newly appointed teaching faculty are assigned a mentor and have low teaching and administrative loads during the first one to two years of joining the School, to enable them to establish their research. Duties are assigned in discussion between the Dean and the relevant Subject Chairperson. The Research Committee offers advice on the submission of grants.
Copyright 2002 - HEFCE, SHEFC, ELWa, DEL
Last updated 17 October 2003