College of Medicine excels under new research framework

The College of Medicine at Swansea University is one of the top performers in the UK for its research environment according to the new Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 used to assess the research quality at UK higher education institutions.

As well as ranking joint first in the UK for its research environment, the College of Medicine is placed 2nd out of 94 in the UK within its unit of assessment.

The Institute of Life Science - Daytime 2

Highlighted as the best overall performer in terms of Grade Point Average (GPA) in Swansea University, a remarkable 95% of the College of Medicine’s research overall has been recognised as internationally excellent or world-leading (3 and 4 star), with 54% of its research rated as 4 star.

The Dean and Head of College, Professor Keith Lloyd, believes this is arguably the most significant milestone in its 10 year history.

He said: “I am delighted with today’s results and I want to thank every member of the College of Medicine and every student who have been on this journey with us to date. With all of our impact case studies rated as 3 and 4 star, this is a brilliant way to end a spectacular 10th anniversary year.”

In discussing the decisions which led to today’s results, Professor Lloyd added: “The College of Medicine started with an ambitious vision – provide the optimum learning and teaching environment by creating a new medical school in Wales to train tomorrow’s doctors and life scientists.

“Rather than trying to achieve success at every level in one giant leap, the College of Medicine focused instead on its own unique value proposition and created the Graduate Entry Medicine Programme to fast track graduates from other disciplines into becoming doctors. The first cohort to complete this training entirely at Swansea graduated earlier this year, which is a fantastic achievement for both staff and students alike.”

The College of Medicine prides itself on offering an interdisciplinary approach to translational medicine, from basic laboratory science to health care delivery, and an innovative approach to building the knowledge economy.

Professor Lloyd added: “The College also focuses on continual improvement in teaching and learning by combining a distinctive interdisciplinary approach, close collaboration with industry and places an emphasis on innovation through technology and research excellence.”

Professor Gareth Jenkins, Director of Research at the College of Medicine, believes this ambitious approach is more important than ever in ensuring the College’s growth and success over the next 10 years.

He said: “The College’s research has informed national policy, improved service delivery and enhanced patient care, to name just a few. To ensure the College stays at the cutting-edge, we need to invest not just in facilities and equipment, but in the research teams and relationships with funding and research partners, commercial businesses and third sector organisations.”

The distinctive vision also resulted in the formation of the College’s research and innovation arm, the Institute of Life Science, with ILS1 opened in 2007 and ILS2 and the Centre for NanoHealth completed in 2011.

Most recently, Swansea University has been added by the General Medical Council to the list of institutions able to award Primary Medical Qualifications (PMQ) independently.

REF press image

Professor Lloyd added: “The College of Medicine has come a very long way in a short time and was acknowledged by 2012 UK Health Research analysis as one of the fastest growing medical schools in the UK.

“This is testimony not just to the College’s ambition and those whose early vision for the new College realised that research excellence was integral to the model that would pay dividends and grow profile quickly, but to its commitment in providing doctors and life scientists with the knowledge and experience they need to address the major healthcare challenges society faces globally.

“Our interaction with both clinical and commercial innovation begins on-site. The ILS opens directly onto one of the two major hospitals in Swansea, helping us to maintain very strong links with the NHS. Crucially, both ILS buildings have 25% priority incubation space for product and technology development. Hence clinical and commercial enterprises are all located within the heart of ILS, which continues to mature and build on its early success.

“The College also embraces the knowledge economy concept where it actively encourages that the skills and knowledge of its researchers are retained locally for the wider community’s benefit.”

Over the next 10 years the College’s investment and research plans are certainly ambitious.

In 2015 the College is opening the Data Science Building to house its world-class centre in administrative data and eHealth research.  Bringing two exciting Centres of Excellence together under one roof – the £9.3 million Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research and the new £8 million Administrative Data Research Centre Wales (ADRC Wales) - it will enable researchers to work together to unleash the potential of large scale data to conduct powerful new research.  It will also open the doors to the MRC Centre for Bioinformatics housed in ILS1.

As well as its continued investment in the development of the Singleton campus, the College of Medicine will also be creating a cutting-edge Medi-Park.  To find out more about this development, follow @SwanseaMedicine