THE University of Wales, Newport, cannot survive in the medium term without merging with other South Wales institutions.

That’s the view of Professor Sir Steve Smith, who has completed an evaluation of higher education in southeast Wales. Mr Smith says that while the University of Wales, Newport, Glamorgan University and Cardiff Metropolitan University each have their strengths, and none faces immediate financial collapse; they were not reaching their potential in terms of performance.

In particular he believes Newport and Cardiff could not survive in the medium term without merging, and believes all three could achieve more together.

He said research had shown there was a danger of a ‘spiral of decline’ affecting Welsh institutions, but this was less likely to happen if a single university is created in the region. Newport and Glamorgan’s university are already in talks to outline details of a merger, under the proposed name The University of South Wales, from the summer of 2013.

The brand identifier of Glamorgan and Newport would be attached to the name to preserve the different missions of each institution.

Cardiff Metropolitan University said it would not join the talks but Mr Smith has asked it to think again because he feels it will struggle to prosper on current budgets.