Page last updated at 02:15 GMT, Saturday, 9 January 2010

Royal Institution former chief might sue over job loss

Baroness Greenfield
Baroness Greenfield is credited with modernising the RI

The former director of one of the UK's oldest science organisations is expected to sue for sex discrimination after losing her job.

The Royal Institution (RI) is reported to have made Baroness Greenfield redundant because the role of a full time director was no longer affordable.

The neuroscientist is one of the UK's best-known female scientists.

She said she was "saddened and dismayed" by the decision and was taking legal advice.

Lady Greenfield's supporters say that as director she modernised the RI, which some had regarded as stuffy and outdated.

As well as initiating a £22m refurbishment of its buildings, Lady Greenfield promoted not just the RI, but science generally, they say.

Contesting

But the RI was not able to recoup the investment through hiring out its facilities and found itself in financial difficulties.

Following a review, the organisation's trustees decided that they could not afford the post of a full-time director, the Times newspaper reports.

In a statement, Lady Greenfield said: "As well as contesting the legitimacy of the process, I will be presenting a claim in the Employment Tribunal which will include allegations of sex discrimination.

"I am the only female who has been appointed to this iconic post throughout the 211-year history of the Royal Institution and cannot see how this decision can be in the best interests of the organisation or its members."

The Royal Institution is a registered charity which aims to connect the public with the world of science. It is famous for its annual Christmas lectures to young people.



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