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RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences was restructured in 1997 to develop critical mass and focused research and resulted in the formation of six schools including Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS). The School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS) is comprised of the Divisions of Clinical Chemistry, Haematology, Immunology, Microbiology, Oncology, Ophthalmology/Visual Science, Pathology and Genetics; three members in the Institute of Infections and Immunity (I of II) hold joint academic appointments with Pharmaceutical Sciences and CLS. We have incorporated Clinical Oncology and Ophthalmology/Visual Sciences into our School and UoA because of overlapping research interests. This submission to Unit of Assessment 1 contains the research activities of the School of CLS excluding the Division of Genetics which is being returned under UoA 14 and the joint appointees of the I of II who are being returned with the whole of I of II as part of Pharmaceutical Sciences submission for UoA 9 (see below).

There are three major themes in CLS constituting this return to UoA1:
· Cancer Biology and Clinical Oncology
· Human Genetics and Disease.
· Infection, Immunity and Inflammation

Research Achievements Since 1996
1. We have obtained four new programme grants and increased quality research output (see under specific research themes). The major grant support includes, a multicentre BHF programme on the genetics of pre-eclampsia, co-ordinated by Nottingham (Broughton-Pipkin in UOA3, Kalsheker and Morgan L), a CRC programme grant (Carmichael), a Wellcome programme grant (James and University of East Anglia) and a three-centre MRC Health Services Research grant in human papilloma virus and cervical screening (Jenkins and UOAs 3,10 and 38).

2. Within this UoA we have recruited nine new members of academic staff partly as a result of staff replacements and new investments with the objective of improving research quality. These include a chair, a reader, two senior lecturers, three lecturers and two joint lecturers with Pharmaceutical Sciences. Five staff have been promoted, one to a chair, two to readers and two to senior lecturers. The School has obtained £8.4M in grant support in the assessment period. This is made up of AMRC, Research Council funding, industrial and Department of Health, European Union and other sources. James was appointed as professor of Microbiology. His appointment brings expertise to the School in structural biology and should facilitate a major University initiative in this area which is being co-ordinated by Chemistry, CLS and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

3. There were 18 clinical research fellowships including nationally competitive awards: MRC (3 jointly with I of II) Wellcome (2 and 1 jointly with UoA 3), CRC (5), AMRC (4) and (3) industrial (Vision Express).

4. CLS members have been the main applicants of successful nationally competitive bids for major equipment including a fluorescence activated cell sorter (Wellcome), real time PCR (MRC JREI) and have significantly contributed to university initiatives in upgrading DNA sequencing facilities and tandem mass spectrometry.

Management Arrangements
All major investments in staff, equipment and infrastructure are dealt with through the CLS Board and subsequently the Strategy and Finance Committee of the Faculty of Medicine made up of the Heads of Schools and Directors of the three Institutes (Cell signalling, Genetics and Infections and Immunity). New appointments and investment in infrastructure and equipment are targeted towards the main research themes and every effort is made to encourage inter-disciplinary work.

Research Training and Culture
In collaboration with the Graduate School, a Faculty-wide training programme for laboratory based PhD students has been developed. Since 1998 this has facilitated greater selectivity for PhD registrations and closer monitoring of students’ progress. There is a requirement for completion within four years. The School has played a significant part in submitting successful university wide based consortia bids to the MRC for PhD studentships (four have been awarded to the university for 2001). In addition to specific training courses undertaken by the Graduate School, CLS offers a structured training course taking advantage of modules offered in three taught Masters courses. Our post-graduates have an excellent record of achievement in obtaining post-doctoral posts and a few have opted to go into industry. We have an annual PhD away day involving presentations and posters together with prizes. DMs are also undertaken by medically qualified staff. As a School we have initiated through discussions with the University a mechanism for providing a career structure for outstanding post-doctoral research staff. This includes extension of research contracts from three to five years and, for selected individuals, the opportunity to obtain tenure track appointments. This has been implemented with effect from early 2001.

Staffing Policy
All new appointments are made with strategic aims of developing the research themes and improving the quality of research. We ensure that new appointees have protected time for research and usually have low teaching and administrative workloads in the first two years. Staff Development is a key issue for academic staff of all grades and we have policies and specific events to cover this.

Users of this website should note that the information is not intended to be a complete record of all research centres in the UK

Copyright 2002 - HEFCE, SHEFC, ELWa, DEL

Last updated 17 October 2003

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