Kingston University has teamed up with St George’s University of London and Royal Holloway University of London to form a collaborative venture set to have a major impact in the healthcare, biosciences and business sectors. One of the main aims of the consortium, which has been awarded £4 million by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will be to meet the need for a larger, diverse and more flexible workforce by training senior executives. It will also provide students with greater opportunities to obtain qualifications for careers in science, health, social care and allied subjects. Stimulating new research by pooling resources and embarking on an increased number of joint projects will also be a major priority.
Kingston’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Scott, said the alliance would build on the University’s close links with St George’s. “We are presently celebrating a decade of education provision through the joint Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences run by Kingston and St George’s which has supplied the region’s workforce with thousands of highly-skilled and qualified staff,” Professor Scott said. “Extending that relationship to include Royal Holloway will provide us with the scope to train an additional 500 students a year, develop our course portfolios and explore new aspects of research.” The venture would draw on the teaching strengths of Kingston and St George’s as well as the impressive research capability of both Royal Holloway and St George’s, Professor Scott added.
To date, partnerships between universities had mainly taken the form of mergers or resulted in smaller colleges amalgamating with larger institutions, Professor Scott said. “In this instance, we are taking a more flexible approach tailored to regional and sector needs,” he said.
The three institutions intend to combine their teaching resources to offer new courses in biological and biomedical sciences and leadership and management education as well as to enhance continuing professional development training. A Health Sciences Foundation Degree with routes into other degrees such as medicine, nursing and practitioner training will be among the first courses to be rolled out.
A portion of the Government funding has been earmarked for a flagship building at St George’s. The complex will provide a venue for some of the non-laboratory based activity to be carried out by the three universities, including postgraduate management programmes. Staff and students at institutions belonging to the consortium will also benefit from Kingston’s expertise in e-learning through access to the web-based learning management system, Blackboard.
The three institutions had recognised that their combined and complementary strengths represented a real opportunity to make significant advances in higher education, Professor Scott said. “Together we have the knowledge and resources to establish a centre of excellence able to address the Government’s agendas for major improvements in delivery,” he said.