The licence application for a British university in Thailand is to be submitted this month following a three-month feasibility study which concluded that Thai economic and social conditions, demand for higher education through the medium of English, and Thai government policies were all supportive of the idea.
Nottingham and Exeter universities undertook the study along with a group of Thai investors, and hope to obtain a licence in the autumn to set up the university at Phitsanulok, 400 kilometres north of Bangkok.
Professor Brian Chiplin, senior pro-vice chancellor of the University of Nottingham, said the majority of staff will be hired specifically to work in the new university rather than sent out from the United Kingdom. Rejecting the latter, which he called the "parachute model" of operating an overseas campus, Professor Chiplin asserted: "It must be a stand-alone university. It is important that it is linked very closely into the culture and society in which it is located."
The university will be developed in two stages. In the first five years or so the Thailand campus will provide a foundation year and the first year of a British three-year degree programme, after which students will transfer to Nottingham or Exeter for the third and fourth years. The main areas of study will be electronic engineering, management and finance, and information systems, with a total of 12 degree programmes on offer.
Eventually, students will be able to take all their degree in Thailand or continue to split their studies between Thailand and the UK.