The Government's commitment to the University of the Highlands and Islands was reinforced this week with a Pounds 500,000 grant to provide video-conferencing links among the further education colleges participating in the project.
Michael Forsyth, Secretary of State, whose enthusiasm for the venture has taken his officials by surprise, said: "My vision is for this to be a university of the next century, with an emphasis on the use of new information and communications technology."
Video-conferencing would allow students as far apart as Stornoway and Thurso to take part in the same lecture. The system, which will use existing telecommunications links, will be controlled from the UHI project office in Inverness.
Supporters of the new university await a decision next month by the Millennium Commission on their bid for Pounds 26 million towards the total project budget of up to Pounds 65 million.