Update: 12:20

November 18, 2002

London university merger called off
Imperial College London and University College London are calling off their plans to merge. A statement issued by the college reads: "The overall conclusion is the best interests of the two institutions is not served by formal merger." Academics had opposed the plans, widely seen at UCL as a takeover bid by Imperial, as being too much, too soon. While staff were happy to collaborate, they were against merger. They also criticised the timescale of the plans: the colleges were given just ten weeks to decide whether to proceed with the merger. Chris Towler, spokesman for the merger at Imperial, said: "There's no point if the staff, particularly in one institution, don't want it to happen. This was for their benefit." UCL is currently seeking a new provost. Sir Richard Sykes had been tipped to replace the current incumbent, Sir Derek Roberts, who is due to retire this autumn.

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