New structure for Leicester Medical School
|From August 1 this
year the Leicester Medical School adopted a new structure that will
help departments maximise their research strengths and take into
account the increasingly inter-disciplinary nature of research
projects and resources
new structure aims
to foster mutual research benefits and greater opportunities for collaboration
within the departments that constitute the Medical School and, more widely,
within the Faculty of Medicine and Biological Sciences.
It will also encourage reciprocal research planning arrangements with
achieve this, staff in each of the new departments will be grouped together
wherever possible, to strengthen their links, create opportunities for
informal discussion and to share facilities. This
will be accomplished over time, with the implementation of the NHS Pathway
development and the construction of the University’s new Biomedical Sciences
restructuring follows more than a year during which the Structures Working
Group, set up by the Dean, Professor Ian Lauder, has been considering issues
of research and resource needs and priorities.
resulting changes have incorporated the findings of the Clinical Research
Advisory Group (CRAG), staff views and those of five sub-groups looking at
different aspects of the proposals.
departments have been created to replace the existing departmental structure
within the Medical School. They are:
Studies and Molecular Medicine:
Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building, Leicester Royal
Glenfield General Hospital;
Most of which will be at Leicester General Hospital on completion of
the new site, due in 2007;
Immunity and Inflammation:
Maurice Shock Medical Sciences Building and adjacent buildings on
and Social Care Education:
Maurice Shock Medical Sciences Building, transferring to the Leicester
General Hospital on completion of the new site
addition to the five academic departments, related clinical divisions have
also been set up, whose heads are responsible to the Dean.
All staff in the Medical School will be a member of one of the academic
departments and clinical staff will also be attached to the clinical
Ian Lauder, Dean of LWMS, commented: “This
restructuring is a major step for the Medical School.
It is probably the most fundamental change that has taken place since
the School was founded in 1975.
challenge is to deliver top quality research, whilst at the same time
retaining our position as one of the very best Medical Schools, in terms of
the quality of teaching and education. Up
to this point we have no fewer than thirty-two separate divisions and
departments. This was incompatible with the obvious need for our research to
be much more clearly focused and I firmly believe that the five new
departments will have sufficient quality and volume to re-establish our
position as a top research-led Medical School.
parallel with the establishment of the five new departments, we shall also
establish a number of clinical divisions, which will be broadly similar to the
clinical directorates apparent within the University Hospitals of Leicester
NHS Trust. The professional links to
the NHS remain vitally important to us and we will obviously also need to link
with Mental Health and Primary Care.
overall process of restructuring has been a long and difficult one for the
Medical School but I am absolutely delighted that on 1 August 2003 the new
arrangements were put into full effect. I
am very much looking forward to working closely with the new departmental
heads and with the new clinical divisions.”
Nilesh Samani, Head of Department of Cardiovascular Sciences:
research has been a major strength of the Leicester Medical School
since its inception. Its
sustained excellence has been recognised by being specifically flagged
in all the Research Assessment Exercises and in the 2001 RAE
cardiovascular research at Leicester received a 5 rating.
When considered together with the number of individuals
submitted, Leicester ranked second only to Imperial in terms of the
combined quality and quantity of its cardiovascular research.
However, the research is spread across several current
departments and sites, and this has to some extent restricted
collaborative work and bidding for large multi-disciplinary programme
creation of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and co-location
of as many groups as possible on the same site will allow better
integration of the work and sharing of research facilities. This will
make us more competitive and hopefully sustain and expand the range of
research work we are undertaking.
is one of the few centres in the country where there is an excellent
combination of basic and clinical research in the cardiovascular
field. We need to build on this and the new Department will provide an
important external focus in achieving this. The Department will have
the new British Heart Foundation Chair, which comes with substantial
funding of £1 million to set up the infrastructure.
Richard Baker, Head of Department of Health Sciences:
restructuring is a landmark development in the history of the
Leicester Medical School, and we must be ambitious and make sure it
achieves its aims.
Department has an important role to play across the Medical School,
and we aim to strengthen our collaboration with other departments as
well as developing strong internal teams. We will be building on an
established record of research in the community, and the creation of
the Department is an opportunity to become one of the leading units in
see our priority as building groups, not just concentrating on a few
strong individuals. Staff need
to develop their research output and work in strong groups. The groups
now forming in the Department are based on strengths in areas that
include biostatistics, genetic and clinical epidemiology, qualitative
research, and experimental trials of health care interventions.
Consequently, the Department is well placed to thrive in the
increasingly competitive research environment.
Will Steward, Head of Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular
see this as an immense step forward. We
have been a conglomeration of predominantly relatively small groups,
and in order to be competitive in the new aggressive RAE environment,
we have got to make the most of our resources and pull together,
moving geographically close and building up more competitive research
is especially important in cancer research.
We are one of the only departments in the country not funded by
Cancer Research UK and we really do have to use our resources to the
maximum. Under the new
structure we should be able to make credible applications to CRUK and
is not just Cancer research that should benefit from the formation of
the new Department. Groups,
including those from Pathology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and
Anaesthetics, will be able to form cross-specialty research groupings
utilising each others’ skills to strengthen the chances of success
with grant applications. It
will allow us to share resources and increasingly expensive equipment,
rather than duplicate them. We
will have the structure to develop research themes rationally and plan
sensible use of resources and space.
should be able to offer students more intercalated BSc opportunities
and more MSc places on a wider variety of programmes.
am very positive. For all of us
the restructuring is a huge step forward and I believe that our
research output can be greatly strengthened and strong collaborations
Stewart Petersen, Head of Department of Medical and Social Care
am excited about this development because I think that, in creating a
department for education, the Faculty is recognising its importance.
The department will include some research relating to medical
education, but our principal remit is in education.
We will have four functions:
To co-ordinate the undergraduate medical curriculum
will continue to co-ordinate phase 1 & phase 2 of the curriculum,
including the management of clinical placements and assessments.
To provide basic medical science support for the curriculum
will be responsible for the teaching of Anatomy and other basic
medical sciences across the medical curricula.
To provide education for students of Social Work
School of Social work is part of the department, and provides a
postgraduate course for 50 social work students each year.
We are building steadily on the opportunities for collaborative
working between medical and social work education.
To create a Professional Development Unit for health that
builds on the particular advantages of association with a medical
school and engages with the NHS modernisation agenda.
have already organised quite a lot of Continuing Professional
Development, but in the past this has been uncoordinated and we want
to draw it into our general framework and develop a range of courses
geared to the needs of the NHS as well as provide new postgraduate
qualifications. Dr Angela
Lennox, Director of the Centre for Studies in Community Health Care
and Senior Lecturer in Medical Education (Community), has been
appointed, half-time, to lead this project.
Peter Andrew, Head of Department of Infection, Immunity and
For the last twenty years,
research in infectious diseases and, latterly, in innate immunity,
have been recognised as strengths of the University of Leicester. In
the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise Infection and Immunity research
at Leicester was rated as 5.
The new Department of Infection
Immunity and Inflammation will be formed by over thirty staff drawn
from the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Respiratory
Medicine, Nephrology, Child Health, and Pre-Clinical Sciences. Our
principal objectives are to underpin and concert the core of research
excellence repeatedly recognised by external review and to attain the
maximum proportion of staff operating at an international level.
We aim to achieve this through
a combination of basic science and clinical programmes that take
maximum advantage of an environment in which workers from all parts of
the spectrum interact on a regular basis. While our University work
will be judged by scientific criteria, it is also our clear intention
to develop programmes that are closely co-ordinated with NHS research
programmes and to synergise with these.
The new organisation has opened
up our horizons and provided an environment in which the routes from
basic research to clinical application and from clinical observation
to basic scientific hypotheses can be clearly seen and realistically
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