Merger is welcomed by new v-c

February 9, 2001

Birmingham University's proposed merger with Aston University seems "entirely sensible", according to Birmingham's new vice-chancellor designate, Michael Sterling.

Professor Sterling, who is currently vice-chancellor of Brunel University and moves to Birmingham at the end of the year, said: "On the basis of what I know, I hope it will go ahead. If we are going to compete globally - which we must -we need to be bigger."

He added: "Both universities have good engineering departments, and putting them together makes them outstanding.

"There should be some economies of scale, for example you don't need two sets of laboratories, but can rationalise lab provision with more intensive use. The same applies to any other subject, for example both universities have very good business schools."

Professor Sterling instigated Brunel's merger with West London Institute of Higher Education in 1995. Brunel plans to sell its Twickenham and Osterley campuses, and will embark on an ambitious building programme at the main Uxbridge campus with the proceeds.

Brunel is in discussions with local authorities and has not yet agreed precise valuations, but the sale is expected to raise "tens of millions of pounds", said Professor Sterling.

Plans for development include a new health studies department, a business and management building and new running tracks and pitches for the relocation of the sports science department, currently based at Osterley.

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