4 December 2003


AT a meeting on the 3rd December, 2003, The Aston University Council considered an approach from The University of Central England (UCE) suggesting consideration of a possible merger between the two institutions. Whilst the Council respects UCE's distinctive mission, it does not share UCE's analysis of the potential opportunities that might arise from any merger, and has therefore decided to reject the UCE proposal. Factors which influenced Aston's Council in this decision included:

• Aston's commitment to its quality-driven research and teaching strategy;

• the significant differences between the missions and strategies being pursued by Aston and UCE;

• the damaging uncertainty that could result for both Aston and UCE from protracted discussions about possible merger.

Mindful however of the likely changing outlook for HE, Aston is to propose to UCE and the University of Birmingham that the three universities enter into tripartite discussions about optimising and enhancing the future of HE in Birmingham and the West Midlands in the longer term. Such discussions need to have regard to the national and international context of HE, and to the desirability of maintaining diversity of opportunity for students and staff, and should thus preclude any further debate about bipartite mergers.


For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

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