A partnership between Harrogate College and the Open University could allow the college to carry out its own research programmes for the first time.
The college is part of Hull College Group, which this week signed an agreement with the OU.
The University will validate nearly 50 courses on offer across the group, meaning students can take on courses leading to OU awards.
And the high-profile agreement could see Harrogate College students benefit from the OU’s existing research and innovation work.
Gary Warke, Hull College Chief Executive said: “This exciting partnership will give the Hull College Group the opportunity to further expand our HE programmes and develop research and scholarly activity benefiting from the Open University’s world leading expertise in research and innovation.
“In due course, this could mean the chance to carry out our own research programmes – an exciting prospect for both staff and students.”
Dr Liz Marr, Director of the Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships at the OU, said: “Through validation, the OU is committed to providing opportunities to participate in higher education to those who might not otherwise be able to.
“We are very confident that our new partnership with Hull College Group, one of the largest post compulsory providers in England, will open access to high quality higher education to many talented students in the local area and beyond and will enable them to achieve their true potential.”