A site earmarked for a university for south-west Scotland has attracted interest from two universities.
Glasgow University has already unveiled plans to set up a college on the site of the former Crichton Royal psychiatric hospital in Dumfries. This could evolve into an independent university early next century. Now Paisley University has approached the Crichton University of Southern Scotland Action Group with proposals to offer courses on the site for full-time and part-time students from next session, a year before Glasgow launches its courses.
Paisley already has a partnership with Dumfries and Galloway college of further education. This month it conferred BA and BSc degrees on 17 part-time students at a special graduation ceremony at the college. From this session, college students with Higher National Diplomas in human resource management, computing or accounting will have the option of gaining a Paisley degree locally through another year's full-time study.
Paisley believes the two universities could cooperate on the site, avoiding duplication of courses. Glasgow expects most of its Dumfries students to take its new three-year general degrees in arts and science, while Paisley is contemplating adding marketing and health studies to the degrees available locally.
A Glasgow University spokes-man said the two university principals were having informal talks next week at Paisley's request.
"We do not see this as a monopoly, and have always recognised that there is existing activity in Dumfries and Galloway College in conjunction with Paisley. What we're proposing is complementary," he said.