The move comes after declining student applications and rising costs resulted in the subject area becoming a point of concern for the university.

The UoN plans to publish a new strategy in October 2023 including plans for the ICLT, and the organisation hopes to find a practical solution to retain leather technology as a subject.

UoN Vice-Chancellor Anne-Marie Kilday said: “The decision to enter into this period of consultation has not been taken lightly, as the academic study of leather at UoN has been a valued part of our offer since 1995. The number of UK leather producers has been in decline, and the largest producers are now China, Brazil, Russia, India and Italy. This has severely impacted the number of domestic students and has not delivered commensurate international students.

“In recent years, recruitment has also been heavily impacted by Brexit and the loss of a regular flow of students from Italy. Our research in the discipline is world-leading, but research income is not offsetting the overheads of facilities and operational requirements or the costs of teaching dwindling student numbers.”

At the Waterside campus, the ICLT provides research exploring new and traditional leather processing techniques and teaches an undergraduate course in leather technology and a number of postgraduate courses, as well as short courses and professional qualifications for those working in the leather industry.

The UoN’s fashion and footwear courses, which collaborate closely with the ICLT, will be unaffected by the consultation.