Last week's news of the change of the academic partner for the University of Lincolnshire Project brings a guarantee of success.
Under the previous model, with Nottingham Trent University, the establishment would have been a university college for many years to come, heading eventually towards independence. The new establishment with the University of Humberside, brings independence immediately.
While the change of partner has involved some difficult negotiations, the result brings clarity to what was otherwise becoming a complex situation.
The University of Humberside will become the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside, a new institution with Lincoln's new Brayford Pool campus as its Lincolnshire headquarters from 1996.
The project is being seen as breaking new ground for such developments. It is regarded as the leader of its field, ahead of several initiatives in the United Kingdom which do not have their own university. The strength of the project comes largely from its community emphasis and its private sector backing, having originated from the Confederation of British Industry. Private companies are investing in the scheme as well as public authorities in Lincoln and elsewhere. Pounds 22 million has already been raised, sufficient to guarantee the opening of exciting new facilities in Lincoln next year.
A massive effort has gone into gathering support from the local community and responding to their needs throughout the region.
With the cessation of growth in student numbers, and consolidation introduced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the issue of funded student places was causing concern. The University College model with Nottingham Trent University was unable to overcome these revenue difficulties, and could not match the success secured in capital fund-raising. The new approach with Humberside guarantees a continuing revenue base and academic programme which matches the original vision of the local project company and its supporters.
Key industrialists involved in the development have welcomed this move which guarantees the emergence of the new university of the Brayford Pool campus in the heart of the historic city of Lincoln in 1996. The project is also based upon an access network development, to expand throughout the region and the new academic partners are able to bring major expertise and resources to that crucial element of the plan.
Chief executive University of Lincolnshire Project