City of Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, England
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Brighton and Hove is the most enchanting, exciting, extraordinary seaside city in Britain. With its cosmopolitan air, oodles of restaurants, feverish nightlife and abundance of culture, the place defies comparison with anywhere else this side of the English Channel. For centuries it has been regarded as a ‘pleasure dome’.
It is also the home town of University of Sussex (official website: www.sussex.ac.uk )
University of Sussex
The university was the first of the new wave of universities founded in the 1960s, receiving its Royal Charter in August 1961. Almost half a century later, the University is a leading teaching and research institution, characterised by a number of academic strengths including research excellence, internationalism and interdisciplinarity.
Sussex is a leading research university, as reflected in the 2008 national Research Assessment Exercise. All subjects at Sussex were rated as either grade 4 or 5, recognising research of national and international standard respectively. Over 90% of staff are researching at this high level, the majority in areas of international excellence. In the 2008 assessment of the standards of research in UK universities, the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), over 90 per cent of Sussex research activity was rated as world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised, confirming Sussex is among the leading 30 research universities in the UK.
In respect of teaching quality, 13 of the 15 subjects assessed under the current teaching quality assessment scheme have scored 21 or more points (out of 24), with Philosophy and Sociology achieving the maximum score. Under the previous assessment scheme, Music, English and Social Anthropology were judged Excellent.
Sussex has an international reputation for its innovative styles of teaching and for the quality and range of its research work. Academic links with every continent, over 2,300 international students from 100 countries, and teaching staff from 40 nations give the University a strongly international feel. Additionally, one in seven of all Sussex undergraduates spend a year of their degree outside the UK.
Sussex is distinctive both academically and organisationally. The commitment to interdisciplinarity, whereby students are required to broaden their academic horizons by studying topics other than those directly allied to their major subject, remains strong. Reinforcing this approach, the University is organised into Schools of Studies and Graduate Research Centres, rather than more traditional faculties or departments, promoting the cross fertilisation of knowledge between subjects. Over 200 undergraduate and 120 taught postgraduate courses are now offered.
Sussex is the only university in England which is entirely located in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Situated on the edge of the Sussex Downs, the University campus is like a large, self-contained village, with lecture theatres, seminar rooms, libraries, labs, accommodation, restaurants, bars, shops and sports facilities all within easy walking distance. Just a few minutes away is the lively, friendly seaside town of Brighton with its great leisure facilities and its rich, eclectic cultural life.
Designed in the main by Sir Basil Spence, the campus buildings include Falmer House, which won one of the coveted medals of the Royal Institute of British Architects in the year it opened (1962) and the striking circular Meeting House based on the design of the traditional oast house which won a Civic Trust award in 1969. In 1993, the buildings which make up the core of Sir Basil Spence's original design were given listed building status. Falmer House was one of only two educational buildings in the UK to be given Grade 1 status of "exceptional interest".
A distinguished faculty
In the sciences Sussex counts among its faculty three Nobel Prize winners, Sir John Cornforth and Professor Harry Kroto. Sir Harry, the first Briton to win the chemistry prize in over ten years, received the prize in l996 for the discovery of a new class of carbon compounds known as the fullerenes. The University has 14 Fellows of the Royal Society - the highest number per science student of any British university other than Cambridge. In the arts, there are six members of faculty - an unusually high proportion - who have the distinction of being Fellows of the British Academy. Faculty publish around 3,000 papers, journal articles and books each year, as well as being involved in consultative work across the world.
Its consistently high reputation in experimental subjects has ensured that Sussex has an excellent infrastructure of laboratories and academic support services. It has invested heavily in the Library; a major extension was recently completed, including a new computer system. The stock now comprises about 750,000 printed volumes, while access to electronic sources is facilitated by a gateway to the internet that reflects local interests and priorities. The Library is noted for its specialist holdings including the Woolf, Kipling and New Statesman papers, the Mass-Observation Archive, and a European Documentation Centre.
A University for the region
The knowledge, training and facilities at the University are also used to promote the economic development of the region, an important example of which is the Academic Corridor project, in which Sussex plays a key role. The project is based on the geographical 'corridor' of the educational institutions flanking the main A27 road from Lewes to central Brighton, and its flagship is the Sussex Innovation Centre housed on the University campus. This Centre is a key resource for the area and its facilities for high-technology companies and support for business development provides additional means of commercially exploiting the University's research and expertise.
Sussex is strongly committed to expanding its local and regional role. A central part of its mission is to contribute to the enhancement of the economic, educational and cultural life of the locality and it has formal relationships with over a dozen colleges of further and higher education in the region. The University is also committed to the principle of lifelong learning. This is put into practice through its Centre for Continuing Education, which offers short courses both on the campus and at locations throughout the county.