City and St George’s merger confirmed for this summer

Sir Anthony Finkelstein to lead combined university, called City St George’s

February 22, 2024
Figurines of the bride and groom on a wedding cake
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A London medical school is merging with one of the capital’s universities in a bid to create “one world-class institution”.

St George’s, University of London will join forces with City, University of London in August this year, hoping to become a “health powerhouse” by combining the pair’s relevant areas of expertise. The union will also bring “significant advantages in terms of scale, reach, capability, and resilience”, the institutions said.

Subject to regulatory approvals the new provider will be called City St George’s, University of London, and will be led by Sir Anthony Finkelstein, the current president of City. Most current St George’s staff will join researchers from City’s School of Health and Psychological Sciences to form a larger school of health, medicine, and psychological sciences.

The strategic case for the merger was agreed by both university councils early in 2023 and the latest announcement ends a search by St George’s for a partner that extended more than 15 years. The Tooting-based medical school’s previous plan to merge with Royal Holloway, University of London collapsed at the end of 2021, and those talks were themselves a revival of lengthy negotiations that had ended without success in 2009.

Sir Anthony said that City St George’s “will assume a role as one of the major London centres for higher education and research, distinctively different from the other member institutions of the University of London”.

“We will be uniquely placed to play a key role in resolving one of the greatest societal issues of the day – training and developing the workers and leaders for the NHS and healthcare professions that are so desperately needed,” he said.

“City St George’s will be the place for rethinking healthcare for the 21st century and will undertake the research to underpin that.

“I am looking forward to leading City St George’s and to working with the remarkable and talented staff, students, and alumni in our combined institution.”

The merger will combine St George’s expertise in areas such as medicine, pharmacology and biomedical science with City’s offerings in subjects including nursing, midwifery and psychology.

Jenny Higham, the current St George’s vice-chancellor, said she was “enthusiastic about the tremendous promise our shared vision holds – not just for healthcare and research, but for science, service, and excellence more broadly”.

“By bringing together the strengths of both universities, our common commitment to practice and professionalism will allow City St George’s to accomplish great things across many disciplines,” she said.

“I look forward to collaborating with Professor Sir Anthony Finkelstein and all our talented staff, students, and alumni as we shape City St George’s, University of London into a powerhouse for healthcare education and research.”

Sir Patrick Vallance, a St George’s alumnus and former UK government chief scientific adviser, said that the merger “will bring a broad range of allied health professions together with medicine into a single institution and provides an exciting opportunity to train the next generations of medical and health professions in an innovative way and to undertake the research needed to improve patient care”.

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