Proposals to expand Londonderry's Magee campus of the University of Ulster have drawn praise from Owen Paterson, the Conservative Party's shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland.
Mr Paterson was speaking after meeting representatives of the University for Derry group, which is seeking to increase Magee's provision of courses relevant to the future needs of the North West economy.
Details of the expansion proposals were published in last week's Business Telegraph, along with data on the scale of the problems facing the economy in Londonderry.
The economic study was produced independently for the U4D group by the University of Lincoln. U4D is now working closely with the University of Ulster and the Ilex urban regeneration company to make agreed and joint progress on implementing the plans.
The scheme would increase student numbers at Magee three-fold to about 10,000 and also involve a major regeneration scheme in Londonderry's city centre.
“I am very pleased to have had a second meeting with the University for Derry group, to hear that they are working together with the University of Ulster and that the proposals from both the University and U4D will be able to complement each other,” said Mr Paterson.
“The latest report produced by the University of Lincoln is fascinating and shows how a new university in a comparable city of the same size can be created in a short time and |deliver very significant economic and social gains.”
Padraig Canavan, chair of U4D, said they would continue to talk to politicial parties about the proposals.
He said: “Owen recognises the need for a compelling single proposal supported by the University of Ulster and Ilex that significantly improves the educational, economic and regeneration environment of Derry-Londonderry.”