The University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia have agreed to merge, creating the country’s largest university for Australian students.
After months of discussions with the state government, the two universities will develop a business case and financial plan, but have already agreed that the new entity will be called Adelaide University.
If it receives final approval, it will be operational from January 2026.
“Establishing a university for the future would put South Australia at the forefront of education in Australia, with a truly globally competitive tertiary education institution,” said Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas.
“The combined university would make South Australia a magnet for domestic and international students and a world leader in research, unlocking incredible benefits for our state’s economy.”
As part of the merger plan, a 14-member transitional council will be established, including a chancellor.
The transition council will oversee a competitive process to appoint a rector magnificus for the combined university, which will be governed by new legislation.
The state government has also agreed to financial support for the merger.
Chancellor Catherine Branson of the University of Adelaide and Pauline Carr, Chancellor of the University of South Australia, said the two institutions agreed on a shared vision for what the new university could offer.
“We believe that through a union of equals and combining the best of our current institutions, a future institution can deliver the highest quality education, further address educational inequality, support social cohesion through its actions and through forward-looking research of scale and focus, and contribute to the economy of this state and nation for generations to come,” they said in a statement.
While the government said the merger would not lead to job losses, the Greens said it was inevitable that some positions would disappear.
“The experience of mergers from interstate and overseas territories shows that they inevitably lead to job losses and a reduction in the quality of the student experience,” said Greens MP Robert Simms.
“Given all the challenges South Africa’s university sector is facing after three years of COVID-19, this will be unwelcome news for workers in the run-up to Christmas.”
Mr Simms said taxpayers also need to know how much money the government is providing.
“Surely this is money that would be better spent on increasing the workforce and reducing incidents,” he said.