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Byline: GARETH EVANS gareth.cevans@walesonline.co.uk

STUDENTS from a Welsh university will be offered the chance to study in Texas as part of a groundbreaking partnership with universities in the Lone Star State.

The agreement will see Swansea University working strategically with three universities and two medical centres across the Atlantic in a deal unlike any seen before in Wales.

Between them, Texas A&M University, Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin teave more than 100,000 students and Swansea's management is excited by the opportunities available.

The partnership will involve the universities collaborating on research projects and allow academics to transfer between institutions thousands of miles apart.

A Swansea University office will be established in Houston while the Texan universities will launch their own European base on Swansea's new Science and Innovation Campus.

But the agreement transcends education and Swansea University hopes to attract American business leaders and, in turn, inward investment into Wales.

Swansea vice-chancellor Professor Richard B Davies said the partnership would strengthen and formalise existing ties between the institutions.

"It's really quite a massive thing for a university like Swansea to be working so closely with some of the top universities in the world," he said.

"This is going to be a very busy partnership. It's got a good history and we've got trust between the two sides. I don't think we're seeing anything like this elsewhere in the UK to be honest."

Prof Davies said the partnership would involve all aspects of university life but, for him, student exchanges were a particular draw.

He said: "If I were to single out one aspect, it would be opportunities for students. Currently, we have dozens of students out in the States every year on exchanges. This will scale it up to hundreds.

"We will be building into all of our courses the opportunity to study overseas. …