AN agreement could secure the future of a Durham building as a centre for international research.
Plans are being explored which could see a former Catholic seminary, Ushaw College, become a new college of Durham University with an international programme of residential and academic activities.
University and church officials this week signed an agreement underlining their commitment to continue their partnership and further exploring educational opportunities, which could secure the long-term future of the Durham City college.
Under detailed proposals the university will continue to occupy parts of Ushaw College and manage its internationally-significant library and culturally-important collections.
The possibility of bringing the larger part of Ushaw under the direct management of the university, while remaining in Catholic ownership and trusteeship, will also be further explored.
Ushaw College was originally founded in northern France in 1568 and re-founded on its current site in Durham in 1808.
Professor Chris Higgins, vice-chancellor of Durham University, and Bishop Terence Drainey, acting chairman of the Ushaw trustees, both signed the agreement.