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Universities join forces to sign 5-year collaborative partnership


September 25 2015


Glyndŵr University has signed a five-year collaborative partnership with the University of Chester.

The move will see Chester validate Glyndŵr’s PhD programmes and follows the unveiling of a new strategy and projected financial surplus at the Wrexham University as it looks to strengthen its reputation and eventually secure its own Research Degree Awarding Powers (RDAPs).

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Glyndŵr University’s Interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Upton, and Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester.

Welcoming the partnership, Professor Upton said closer ties between the neighbouring campuses is vital to the region from an academic and commercial perspective, given their links with industry and close proximity.

He added: “I would like to thank Professor Wheeler and the University of Chester for the support they have given us in laying the foundations for a new focus on research at Glyndŵr University Wrexham.

“We look forward to working closely alongside them and to seeing PhD students benefit from this relationship.

“This is an important milestone for us as we take the first steps towards a new era for higher education in north east Wales, with Glyndŵr University Wrexham at the forefront.”

Chester will initially support up to 30 PhD/MPhil students at Wrexham and provide three years of research degree accreditation.

The MoU is for doctoral degrees only and runs until 2020, by which point Glyndŵr will be in the process of securing its own RDAPs. It will not affect those currently studying for a postgraduate research degree validated by the University of Wales.

The partnership also explores broader collaboration between the universities.

Professor Wheeler said: “In the spirit of supporting advanced scholarship, we are entering into this collaborative arrangement, which will continue to enrich the academic community in north east Wales.

“Indeed, the University of Chester was similarly supported by the University of Liverpool until it was granted the powers to award its own research degrees.”

He added: “Glyndŵr is our nearest neighbour so if there’s anything we can do to help with research, especially collaborative and applied research in West Cheshire and north east Wales, then I think that’s a very positive development for both universities.

“The latest Research Excellence Framework saw almost double the number of research submissions from the University of Chester and all were deemed to include ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) research, with a significant proportion judged to be ‘world leading’ (4*).”

In July, Professor Upton announced a four-year financial turnaround for Glyndŵr University Wrexham, which includes a projected £1.7m surplus for 2015/16 and a turnover of up to £75m by 2019/20.

 There are plans to grow student numbers over the same period, doubling the number of full-time UK/EU undergraduates to 5,400.

He vowed to make the institution ever more attractive to students, improve the quality of teaching and harden ties with FE and HE partners, notably Bangor University and Coleg Cambria.

The University is also forging stronger links with Grwp Llandrillo Menai, South Cheshire College, Grwp Neath Port Talbot, the University of Wolverhampton and international colleagues.

Pictured from left to right are (top) Assistant Vice Chancellor, Glyndŵr University, Louise Casella; Pro Vice Chancellor, Chester, Chris Haslam; Lynda Powell, Director of Operations, Glyndŵr University. Bottom: Interim Vice Chancellor, Glyndŵr University; Professor Graham Upton; Vice Chancellor, Chester, Professor Tim Wheeler

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