Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 12:38 UK

Troubled university's merger plan

Lampeter University
Lampeter University says it is facing increased pay costs

A troubled university is in talks with other higher education institutions about a possible merger.

Lampeter university in Ceredigion, the oldest in Wales and one of the smallest in the UK, is also considering establishing closer ties with colleges.

The university has had strike threats over redundancies, and there is a review of its management and future.

Trinity College Carmarthen is in talks about creating closer links, but said there was no suggestion of a merger.

Lampeter's acting vice-chancellor Gywndaf Tobias said all options were being considered "in the light of recent events".

Each option will be considered carefully
Acting vice-chancellor Gywndaf Tobias

He added: "The university will, over the coming weeks, be exploring all options now open to it and these include remaining as a stand-alone institution, further collaboration with other higher education institutions and possible merger opportunities.

"As part of the appraisal process, representatives from the university have entered into dialogue with a number of parties who have shown an interest in developing a closer working relationship with Lampeter, in line with the current reconfiguration and collaboration agenda within higher education in Wales."

Pay costs

A spokeswoman for Trinity College Carmarthen (TCC) said it had been "invited to offer a view on possible collaborative models for the future of UWL".

She added: "One of these models is the development of closer collaborative links with TCC. Currently UWL are considering these options."

The university is facing a significant increase in next year's pay costs and has to make cuts.

But the University and College Union (UCU) said it would call a strike if compulsory redundancies were made.

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) recently called in consultants to carry out a study at the university.

Among the topics covered in a subsequent confidential report, which is unlikely to be made public, was a review of the university's management capability and its options for "future development".

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