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Staff at Warwick Medical School face redundancies

Staff at Warwick Medical School (WMS) could lose their jobs if plans made by the University of Warwick are followed through.

Under these plans Professors, readers and associate professors who have not managed to secure grants of £90,000 per year over the past four years would face redundancy.

The University plans to reduce the number of staff in its medical school due to falls in the amount of research income.

In response, University and College Union (UCU) has launched a national petition calling on the University of Warwick vice-chancellor, Nigel Thrift, to reverse the, “damaging and dangerous practice”, noting that the proposals could seriously damage important research.

For example, research into challenging kidney transplants where patients are at high risk of rejecting the donor organ and research into reproductive medicine.

Dennis Leech, president of the Warwick UCU branch said: “Firstly, winning research grants is a lottery – sometimes academics find that they can make many applications without any success – particularly in recent years when the funds available have been cut as part of the austerity.

“It is wrong to make winning such a gamble necessary to an academic career. But second, it is manifestly unjust to apply these targets retrospectively, when there is nothing a member of staff can do to change the situation.

“Thirdly it is wrong to assume that all fields of research in a multidisciplinary department like WMS require equal amounts of money: some areas of medical science need expensive equipment while other areas like mathematical modelling of epidemics or health economics require very little.

“We are concerned that Warwick is following the example of Imperial College London which has been putting intolerable pressure on staff in this way.”

Warwick’s proposals follow the death of Imperial College professor Stefan Grimm in September 2014. Professor Grimm was said to be under considerable pressure due to not meeting the funding requirements of his role, equaling £200,000 per year. He was allegedly told that he would therefore be made redundant.


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