Having studied UK institutions' research output metrics for the past 30 years - and as a graduate of Newcastle and Durham universities - I think that the case for a merger between the two institutions is irresistible ("North East merger still on cards, insist v-cs", October 6).
Independently, Newcastle and Durham rank in the mid-teens for research output of publications and citations, but a merged institution would be about sixth in the UK and in the top 20 in Europe.
Merging two very good universities with complementary strengths would instantly create an international quality research institution.
The only rational question about the merger should be: how soon could it be done?
Bruce G. Charlton