SFC issues assurance as university fears losing independence
Abertay University’s acclaimed games education courses would likely be ring-fenced if controversial merger plans go ahead, the Scottish Funding Council has told Develop.
“Nobody would want to compromise Abertay University’s leading games courses”, a SFC spokesperson said.
Proposals to merge Abertay and Dundee University have sparked online protests from Abertay’s student union. The two universities, which are separated by a single mile, have received government letters asking them to start exploring how a potential merger could work.
“We are somewhat concerned about the nature and tone of these requests given that we are an independent, autonomous institution,” an Abertay spokesperson told Develop.
The university added: “At present, and for the foreseeable future, we do not think there will be any impact on our world-leading computer games education.”
Proposals to unite the institutions come as part of a wider government austerity plan.
The SFC, which directs government funding to universities and colleges, said that proposals to merge Abertay and Dundee were “early and tentative”. If the plan is enacted, it would be a multi-year process with staff put into a consultation process.
Sources from within Abertay University told Develop the merger appears likely.
The overall budget for Scotland’s universities appears to have escaped wider government austerity measures. Funding will climb from £1 billion to £1.06 by 2015.
But the SFC has to make efficiency savings elsewhere, and is considering mergers of certain universities as a way of cutting costs.
Abertay University has won acclaim across the games industry for its hands-on games development courses. Initiatives, such the Dare to be Digital competition, allow students to build full games and prototypes, as well as connect with games studios.