MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY and UMIST are considering a merger between their civil engineering departments, NCE can reveal. Discussions are continuing this week over plans to set up a shared teaching facility at UMIST from October 2001.
Maintaining high academic standards in the face of fewer applications to civil engineering courses is believed to be behind the proposal. Applications to civil engineering courses have been cut by the introduction of the Engineering Council's Standards and Routes to Registration reforms last year, under which 70% of civil engineering applicants need at least 18 A level points for courses to gain ICE accreditation.
A source close to Manchester University said shared teaching was an 'obvious move'. He added: 'They both have a high reputation and want to maintain it in this very difficult climate.'
But UMIST professor of civil engineering Ian Whyte said 'shared efficiencies' were the main reason behind the idea. 'It is to do with factors other than SARTOR,' he said. 'UMIST has fully met the student number targets set for this year and our intake has an average of 26 A level points.'
A spokesman from Manchester University added: 'We are discussing a number of things with UMIST but we can't make any further comment until a decision is made.'
Under the proposal, which is expected to lead to higher research funding for the merged engineering department, lectures would take place at UMIST but laboratories will stay open at Manchester University.