From Social Institution to Knowledge Business
Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Magnus Holmén
Chapter 3: Strategy to Join the Elite: Merger and the 2015 Agenda at the University of Manchester
Luke Georghiou INTRODUCTION The logo of the University of Manchester incorporates a date of establishment of 1824 but this display of pedigree disguises the much more recent foundation of a new university by Royal Charter1 on 1st October 2004. This new university, immediately the United Kingdom’s largest, was formed through an eﬀective merger of two institutions, the Victoria University of Manchester2 (VUM) and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). At the time the use of the term ‘merger’ was discouraged as the project was not principally driven by the typical merger objectives of rationalization and achieving scale. Rather the aim was to create a new institution that would drive towards a much higher position in the pantheon of world elite institutions than either of its predecessors had achieved in modern times but with a distinctive identity that did not emulate the UK’s so-called Golden Triangle of Cambridge, Oxford and the leading London universities, nor the highly-endowed US Ivy League. This chapter will examine the rationale and expectations for the most ambitious project in British higher education and track the process of change. A particular focus will be the blueprint for this transformation, known as the 2015 Agenda – a set of evolving goals and performance indicators. Progress to date and the challenges, expected and unexpected, that have surfaced will be discussed. In an ongoing project and with an insider’s viewpoint there is no possibility of arriving at an objective assessment but some conclusions about the experience...
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