Iceland’s Largest Universities Discuss Cooperation Skip to content

Iceland’s Largest Universities Discuss Cooperation

The rectors of the University of Iceland (HÍ) and Reykjavík University (RU), the largest universities in the country, are discussing extensive cooperation between the two education institutions.

Reykjavík University. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Rector of HÍ Kristín Ingólfsdóttir confirmed to Fréttabladid that discussions are taking place, adding, however, that they are taking place on an informal basis. There are seven universities in Iceland and cooperation between all of them has been suggested.

“I’m of the view that considering the circumstances in state finances it is unavoidable to seriously look into all options that can lead to rationalization while strengthening the operations of universities in this country,” Ingólfsdóttir said.

“We shouldn’t stop at the type of cooperation that would be easy to execute but look for ways that can be the most profitable,” Ingólfsdóttir added, explaining, “If we consider what merger would deliver the best financial results, it would be a merger between HÍ and RU.”

Ingólfsdóttir wouldn’t mention any specific amounts in that connection. “However, such a merger would be considerably complicated and sensitive and it would have to be undertaken with great care. […] It could lead to a powerful school, which could compete with foreign universities.”

In terms of cooperation with other universities, Ingólfsdóttir mentioned the simple idea of adopting a joint enrollment system, which would deliver financial profits but not lead to significant changes within the universities.

“Another merger that has been mentioned is between HÍ and the Agricultural University of Iceland,” Ingólfsdóttir added.

Stefán B. Sigurdsson, rector of the University of Akureyri, said a merger with the Reykjavík universities is out of the question in his view. “Such a merger would mean that the university here would be shut down.”

Click here to read about cutbacks at the universities in Iceland.

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