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Reconfiguration and collaboration

The Reconfiguration and Collaboration Fund was launched in July 2002 to support the reshaping of the higher education (HE) sector in Wales in order to achieve major performance gains and enhanced competitiveness.

A large number of landscape changing bids received support from the fund including institutional mergers and partnerships, collaborative research institutes, National Research Centres and other developments such as the Centre for Welsh Medium Higher Education. As 'Reaching Higher' funding ceased following the 2011-12 Welsh Government budget announcement, the Reconfiguration and Collaboration Fund has not been able to support new developments in 2011. In September 2011, circular W11/35HE was issued notifying universities that the fund would close to new proposals.

The fund supported many partnerships across Wales. The first phase supported the merger of Cardiff University and the University of Wales College of Medicine, and a number of feasibility studies. Subsequent phases have helped develop a range of collaborative projects and were essential to enable the merger of University of Wales, Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. The new university, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, received its royal charter on 21 July 2010.

Despite the closure of the fund to new proposals, a number of ongoing developments continue to be supported under the third phase including: the Low Carbon Research Institute; the Biosciences, Environment and Agriculture Alliance between Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities; the Research Institute of Visual Computing; and the Climate Change Consortium for Wales.

All applications considered and supported partnerships (including applications not progressed)

Achievements of the fund
Merger of University of Wales, Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen

Funding of £14.3 million was provided to fund the merger of University of Wales, Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. The new institution, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, built on the excellence of the parent institutions to create a sustainable future for the provision of higher education in south-west Wales. The University developed a new range of vocational courses and engaged with local business, communities and the not-for-profit sector in the area.

Strategic Alliance between the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and University of Glamorgan

Funding of £12.75 million was provided to support a strategic alliance between the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the University of Glamorgan, with the College becoming a subsidiary of the University in 2007. Through being part of the Glamorgan Group, the Strategic Alliance has enabled the College to secure funding for capital developments including a range of new concert and theatre facilities. An independent evaluation examined progress towards the goals for the Strategic Alliance and lessons for future merger developments.

Merger of Cardiff University and the University of Wales, College of Medicine

Funding of £15 million was provided to help with the merger of Cardiff University and the University of Wales College of Medicine. The merger successfully took place in 2004, with the merged institution becoming one of the ten largest in the UK. An independent evaluation of both the merger process and the subsequent progress towards the goals for the merged institution highlighted the success of the merger process, as well as the growth in research funding awarded to the University since the merger. A further independent evaluation of the impact of the merger in 2010 examined the outcomes of the merger and lessons for future merger developments. 

Terminated Merger Discussions between the University of Glamorgan and University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

Following the termination of merger discussions between the University of Glamorgan and University of Wales Institute, Cardiff in 2003, a review was undertaken by GAELWa, the ELWa (Education and Learning Wales) audit service.

Welsh Medium Scholarships and Fellowships

The fund provided up to £2.9 million to establish a Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme and expand an existing Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship Scheme in order to increase the Welsh medium teaching capacity of the sector. The pan-Wales schemes developed new Welsh Medium lecturing talent and teaching material.

Report of an independent interim evaluation of these schemes

Lessons learned

In addition to the evaluation of completed projects, information on the lessons learned from ongoing projects will be published as this becomes available.

The following documents provide information on the previous arrangements for the operation of the fund:

Circular W09/32HE: Reconfiguration and Collaboration informed universities of amendments to the application procedures and assessment processes for proposals to the Reconfiguration and Collaboration Fund and Strategic Development Fund, which were to operate from September 2009 until September 2011.

Circular W04/48HE: Reconfiguration and Collaboration described the basis on which the Reconfiguration and Collaboration Fund operated in its second phase, from 2004/05 until September 2009.

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