Universities and higher education colleges in the East Midlands have formed an association to represent them on regional issues.
This follows disagreement among vice-chancellors over who should represent them on their local regional development agency. David Wallace, vice chancellor of Loughborough University, was nominated as a representative by Nottingham and three other universities. But an alternative candidate, Ray Cowell, vice-chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, has also been put forward.
University and college heads still awaiting the RDA's decision are hoping that the new East Midlands University Association will help institutions present a more united front.
Ken Edwards, vice-chancellor of Leicester University, said: "This particular group of universities has not had any obvious experience of working together and the question of who might be nominated has produced some differences of view.
"The association should help us become more coordinated and argue through any different viewpoints."
Professor Wallace did not think there would be any disputes among institutions over the role of the association, which also includes in its membership Nene College and Bishop Grosseteste College.
"We are quite relaxed about this and there is no sense of division. There is a clear recognition that we have to move away from what has been a competitively-driven culture," he said.
It is expected that the association will help institutions bid for any funds channelled through the RDA and national initiatives such as the Challenge Fund.