Second Life could help to solve the problem of financing academic conferences in the credit crunch, the Guardian reports.
According to Professor Alan Gilbert, the president and vice-chancellor of Manchester University, a lack of public funds means the education sector is entering into an "era of extraordinary stringency in public outlays on higher education; an environment tougher, certainly, than anything universities have faced for the last quarter century".
However, with virtual world Second Life already playing host to 5,000 education professionals its operator, Linden Labs, believes it could provide the answer to the problem of paying for an academic conference in the current economic climate.
Second Life facilitates learning for students and offers a platform for faculty members to lecture - and it has already made a breakthrough into the conferencing world.
The Labour party used Second Life as one of the selling point points of its 2008 party conference held at Manchester Central, one of the most prominent of Manchester venues.
Politicians met online users at the event, which was hosted by Microsoft and the Social Market Foundation.