Partners won't rule out merger

Brunel University and Royal Holloway are to collaborate in research, teaching and some administration.

They have made joint research bids and are discussing working together on e-learning as well as projects in biological sciences, design and the performing arts.

The institutions said they were not planning a merger, but would not rule it out for the future. Martin Cave, vice-principal of Brunel, said: "If the collaboration goes well, over a period of time we might give thought to what the next steps are."

The institutions said no redundancies would arise from the proposals. "(Collaboration) will create more opportunities for research grants, enhance quality of teaching and increase activity rather than reduce it," Royal Holloway vice-principal John Turner said.

He added that Royal Holloway was also exploring collaborative opportunities with Surrey and Reading universities.

Brunel and Royal Holloway have already made two joint proposals for Science Research Investment Fund money. One is to establish a functional genomics centre, with the genomics facilities run by Brunel and the proteomics (the study of proteins) facility at Royal Holloway. The other bid would see the purchase of a regional facility for brain imaging research.

Professor Turner said other areas that might benefit from collaboration in research included design, performing arts, and environmental studies.

Possibilities also exist for collaborating in teaching, particularly in biological sciences. "Maintaining adequate curriculum coverage is difficult unless you are huge. We are exploring the possibility of each department specialising in its own thing and offering teaching across to the other."

Other possibilities include administrative tasks, for example jointly outsourcing specialist services in areas such as personnel or working together to produce human resources policies.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Man measuring bar graphs with tape measure

An Elsevier analysis explores the viability of a ‘smarter and cheaper’ model

  • David Willetts

The former universities minister discusses the reforms that reshaped higher education and his first steps into academia

  • Man holding a box filled with work-related items

Refusal by John Allen to obey instruction from manager at Queen Mary University of London led to his sacking, tribunal rules

  • Unlocked open door

Publisher’s open access policy unleashes public display of disagreement

  • A black and white crowd scene with a few people highlighted

What are the key issues local union branches are dealing with, and how do they manage relationships with institutions in what many activists argue is an increasingly confrontational environment?