Expert View: Professor Keith Lloyd, Dean and Head of Swansea University Medical School

The Medical School was delighted to announce the results from the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014.

Published in  December 2014, the results of REF 2014 demonstrate a spectacular performance for Swansea University and the Medical School, rounding off a fantastic 10th anniversary celebration year for the college.

The Medical School’s achievements include:

  • Joint 1st in the UK for research environment rated as 100% world-leading*
  • 2nd in the UK on research quality in our unit of assessment with a grade point average of 3.49**
  • That research scored 100% 4* in terms of impact
  • 95% of the research submitted was assessed as world-leading (54%) or internationally excellent (41%)

Overall, Swansea University has climbed from 52nd place in the UK in 2008 to 26th in 2014 - this is the largest climb up the rankings of any research-intensive University in the UK.

Equipping tomorrow’s doctors and life scientists with the necessary skills and experience to address the major healthcare challenges faced globally is at the heart of every activity undertaken at the Medical School.

This not only requires continual improvement in teaching and learning by combining a distinctive interdisciplinary approach, close collaboration with industry and placing an emphasis on innovation through technology and research excellence; it necessitates taking an active role in shaping the region’s knowledge economy.

Over the past 10 years, this holistic approach has resulted in significant successes.

From the creation of the Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) programme in 2004, opening of the Institute of Life Science phase one (ILS1) in 2007 and phase two (ILS2) and the Centre for NanoHealth in 2011, to earning the right to award Primary Medical Qualifications (PMQ) independent of any other institution in 2014; the College of Medicine is now acknowledged as one of the fastest growing medical schools in the UK.

Over the next 10 years the College’s plans are equally ambitious. As part of the ARCH Programme there will be continued investment in the development of the Singleton Health Campus, the Medical School has also created a cutting-edge MediPark which has seen PwC arrive as a tenant in the past few months.

In addition, the MRC Centre for Bioinformatics housed in ILS1 and the Data Science Building, which opened in 2015, the latter is a world-class centre in administrative data and eHealth research.

Clinical Research and translation:

Contribution to quality and availability of patient care as well as economic impact of job creation will be supported by translation of research output through the expanded Joint Clinical research Facility (J-CRF) activity across ABMU and Hywel Dda sites. The extended reach through Hywel Dda will realise increased scale and scope of research to be undertaken with greater opportunity for patient participation.

This collaboration will expand support for clinical translation and commercialisation of research through an open innovation approach delivered by an integrated Enterprise & Innovation team serving the partnership and wider ecosystem across South West Wales.

Existing harmonisation of IP policies between university and health board activities will be extended across partners in the region to facilitate this work. Support from the Bevan Commission will assist in realising evidence-based developments relevant to and effective for the region’s healthcare system.