Lancaster University is preparing to recruit more teaching and research staff in health and medicine as it presses ahead with development plans that could lead to the creation of a new medical school.
Up to eight academic staff plus two professors with their own research teams will be sought initially as Lancaster expands its provision for medical students via a collaboration with Liverpool University, the University of Central Lancashire, St Martin's College and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust.
Lancaster heads are considering investing about £1.6 million of a no-strings £5 million donation, announced this month by the Bowland Charitable Trust in attracting and developing medical and health-related personnel.
Trevor McMillan, the university's pro vice-chancellor for research, said: "Final decisions have yet to be made about how we will use the donation.
"But the thinking at the moment is that we may use about a third to develop health and medicine to capitalise on the presence of medical education on campus. The money we spend will go on people rather than buildings."
The move follows news from the Higher Education Funding Council for England of 50 extra places a year for Liverpool University medical students who will have their academic base at Lancaster for the full five years of their course.
This franchise-style arrangement echoes links elsewhere in the sector between established and embryonic medical schools.
Lancaster has so far appointed Anne Garden, previously head of the School of Medical Education at Liverpool and a fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, as director of its Centre for Medical Education.
This is the first in a series of appointments planned as part of its growing medical activities.