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Supporting UCL Chemistry

Support UCL Chemistry Department and the new wave of Undergraduate students.

Photo of UCL quad in the winter

UCL Undergraduate Equipment Fund

Although the refurbishment of the Graham Lab gives us a splendid new teaching space, the budget did not include an upgrade of the equipment used in the experiments. This has been left to be covered by the Department's annual budget which in spite of buoyant student numbers remains very tight indeed. Why are we, a Grade 5* department, in this ridiculous situation? Much of the reason can be laid at the door of HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which several years ago significantly reduced the "unit of resource" (i.e. the amount of money granted per student) for laboratory-based subjects. In a move which left many many science departments reeling, subjects such as chemistry now receive only 1.7 times the funding of a humanities or arts department, compared with a factor of 2 previously. It is this subtle change in funding formula which pushed several vice-chancellors to close chemistry departments, or to merge them with Biology or other disciplines. While lawyers, historians, and economists share our need for lecture and seminar rooms, we have the additional requirements of vast teaching labs with energy-intensive fume hoods, support staff in the prep room, and, of course, glassware and equipment for our students' use. Thus our ability to maintain and upgrade the equipment our undergraduates use remains very tightly constrained.

What this means is that this is a critical area where you, our former students, can help us. If you work in the chemical, analytical, or pharmaceutical industries you may want to contact us when you are replacing or upgrading your kit - we can use spectrometers, gas chromatographs, and instruments of all sorts and would be happy to take hand-me-downs.

Of course the other way you can help is through donations and legacies. We have a number of funds which were set up in the past to support activities in the Department. An example of this is the Lady Durning Lawrence Fund which was established in 1929 to support teaching in "physical and electrical chemistry". Sadly, the complexity of the equipment used today, coupled with the ravages of inflation, mean that the fund yields now no more than equivalent of a few stirrers and heating mantles each year.

We are therefore turning to you to consider us for donations in the coming year. Such donations are highly tax efficient especially if coupled with Gift Aid which adds 28% to the value of your gift. You can download a Gift Aid form from this site. UCL guarantees that every pound of donated income goes directly towards the purpose for which its given, so do specify that your gift is for "Chemistry Department Teaching Equipment" or to top up the "Lady Durning Lawrence" Fund.If you are considering leaving us a legacy, you may wish to contact UCL’s Head of Legacy Giving (tel: 020 7679 9727) or our Head of Department, Ivan Parkin at the usual address.

However you might be able to help, your contribution will be most gratefully appreciated.

The Apley Bursary and Prize

The Apley Prize and Bursary has been endowed to the memory of Martin Apley, who graduated from UCL with a double first in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Forced to abandon a PhD through lack of funds, Martin went on to a distinguished career in plastics and polymers. Amongst other achievements, he contributed the plastic filler to Barnes Wallis' famous "Dambuster Bombs".

We are very grateful to the Apley family for setting up these funds.