Two leading universities to work more closely together
Two leading universities have announced their intention to work more closely together to meet the challenges of the future.
The Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham intend to share some academic appointments, research initiatives and facilities.
They will also work together on management, administration and improving teaching, learning, and the student experience.
Both are insisting it is not a merger.
The universities - which are about 50 miles apart - will keep their distinct identities and will only collaborate in areas where it is beneficial to do so, they say.
But the vice-chancellors have suggested that in the long term they could collaborate on widening participation and even create jointly-awarded degree programmes.
They also say the move is not motivated by the need to save money amid university funding cuts.
But in a joint statement Professor David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: "UK higher education faces increasing challenges in the coming years to enhance the provision of services and facilities to students and staff in a more constrained funding environment.
"This collaboration will enable both universities to explore opportunities to share best practice and to diversify income streams."
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: "Academics instinctively collaborate, and this is an opportunity for us to send a much stronger signal about collaboration within our institutions - to build on existing links and develop new ones.
He adds that the international domain is a good example of where collaboration could work well because the two institutions do things slightly differently.
"While we have overseas campuses in China and Malaysia, Birmingham has a bigger footprint in North America, so the new framework for collaboration opens up new opportunities for both institutions."
The universities already collaborate in a number of areas including involvement in a regional physics project and two doctoral training centres.