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UOA 12 - Allied Health Professions and Studies

University of Wolverhampton

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

 

Introduction

 

Following RAE 2001, the University decided to concentrate its research into areas strategically important to its course portfolio and its regional mission, and where there was demonstrable strength in its research activity. This was accomplished by the formation of a limited number of Research Institutes. The purpose of these is to provide a platform for the promotion of high quality research in a supportive, stimulating and research-driven atmosphere. It provides a mechanism for academics to interact within and between Schools and builds outside collaboration opportunities for research-active staff.

 

The Research Institute in Healthcare Science (RIHS, www.wlv.ac.uk/rihs) was formed in October 2003, as a joint initiative between the Schools of Applied Sciences (SAS), the School of Heath (SoH) and the School of Sports, Performing Arts and Leisure (SSPAL) and is the basis of this submission. The Director, Professor John Darling, seconded from SAS, manages RIHS on a day-to-day basis. Members of RIHS are seconded into the Institute from their home Schools for a proportion of their time (between 20 and 50%), effectively giving them a reduced teaching load in support of their research. Internal funding for RIHS derives from HEFCE Capability Funding (including PGR funding) and significant University investment.

 

Research Structure

 

Under Darling's leadership, RIHS provides the context for research in Allied Health Professions. Research is conducted by nine research groups, each of which is led by a senior, experienced academic with considerable supervisory and research experience. The research group structure provides a supportive environment for young academics starting out in independent research, as well as for postgraduate students. Research group leaders meet with the Director at two weekly intervals to discuss the operation of the Research Institute, its policies and scientific direction. Twice each year all members of the Research Institute meet at a scientific Away Day, and a further research day where research students present their data (conducted as part of annual monitoring of research student progress) provides another opportunity for members of the group to share their research. This environment is further enhanced by RIHS's weekly Lunch and Science sessions and research seminars. 

 

1. Applied Research in Health Policy, Evaluation and Practice Group  Professor David Sallah, Dr Elvidina Adamson-Macedo, Dr Vinette Cross, Dr Laura Serrant-Green, Professor Peter Shah, (Hon. Professor of Glaucoma, Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre) and Dr Paul Stepney supported since 2001 by 7 research assistants and 8.5 research students. This research group is involved in a wide variety of projects with a strong emphasis on ethnicity and health. Sallah’s research focuses on shaping, implementing and monitoring effectiveness of mental health service improvement in the prison system in collaboration with the Healthcare Commission, Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Authority. He was National Director of the Department of Health/Care Services Improvement Partnership programme for delivering race equality in mental health care 2005-2007. Adamson-Macedo’s research is centred on the psychological aspects of newborn babies and their mother’s mental health. She was President of the Forum on Maternity and the Newborn at the Royal Society of Medicine, 2004-2006. She has developed a variety of methodologies to assess the value of haptic touch in newborn babies and is in the process of commercialising a range of early learning tools to stimulate intellectual activity in newborn and premature babies. Serrant-Green’s interests lie in sexual health including HIV in the black and minority ethnic communities. She has served on a number of Department of Health and Royal College of Nursing Advisory Groups and Task Forces in this area. Shah and Cross are researching glaucoma in the African-Caribbean community through the Research into Glaucoma and Ethnicity (ReGAE)  Project. This has lead to the development of the Shah-Cross model, a framework for developing collaborative ophthalmic research in relation to ethnicity. The research team have been approached to assess the feasibility of implementing this model in the Caribbean, with the specific aim of reducing glaucoma blindness in this region. Shah is also involved in developing new international consensus guidelines for angle closure glaucoma through the Association of International Glaucoma Societies. Stepney is interested in social inclusion with special reference to mental health in the comparative context of the UK and Finland. Members of this group are also members of the University Centre for Health and Social Care Improvement (www.wlv.ac.uk/chsci), an organisation designed to facilitate direct interaction with the NHS through identifying and investigating priority research areas within health and social care and acting as a conduit for the rapid application of research to the NHS.

 

2. Cancer Research Group  Professor John Darling, Professor David Ferry (Hon Professor of Medical Oncology, Clinical Director, NCRI-funded Greater Midlands Cancer Research Network, GMCRN), Dr Paul Hooley, Dr Jan Martin, Dr Iain Nicholl and Dr Weiguang Wang supported over the RAE period by 1 Clinical Research Fellow, 1 Post Doctoral Research Fellow, 1 research assistant, 15 research students and one technician (0.5 fte). The group is focussed on trying to understand the mechanism(s) by which many human tumours are, or become, resistant to chemotherapy. There is a highly developed culture of collaborative working, both within the group (for example, scientists interested in DNA repair in both fungal and human cells (Hooley and Nicholl, respectively) collaborate in order to more fully understand the contribution of DNA repair to drug resistance in cancer) and externally (where group members are collaborating with the GMCRN on investigating the significance of p53 mutation in modulating response to platinum-based chemotherapy in women with epithelial ovarian cancer). This interaction provides opportunities to develop multidisciplinary translational research projects (including psychosocial elements, see below) capable of attracting significant funding in the future. Brain tumour work is being further enhanced at the University by the development of a strategic alliance between Wolverhampton and the Universities of Central Lancashire, Keele, Liverpool, Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan and Sheffield called “Brain Tumour North West”. This partnership will allow the development of multidisciplinary research proposals that maximise the use of scarce clinical material, shared equipment and other resources in this comparatively rare type of cancer. The network has secured £180,000 over 5 years from the Sidney Driscoll Trust in Preston to establish and curate a brain tumour tissue bank. The brain tumour group at Wolverhampton has contributed to the first report that there are different patterns of genetic changes in glioblastoma multiforme in children and adults. The recruitment of Wang, who has considerable experience in gene-directed enzyme pro-drug therapy, complements Darling’s interest in using gene therapy to modulate chemosensitivity in these tumours. This collaboration secured £149,000 from the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust in July 2007. There is also considerable interaction between the Cancer Research Group and the Molecular Pharmacology Research Group involving the use of novel peptides to interfere with DNA repair and brain tumour cell growth – see below.

 

3. Diabetes, Physiology and Molecular Medicine Research Group  Dr Simon Dunmore, Dr Steven Anderson, Dr James Cotton (Honorary Senior Lecturer, Heart and Lung Institute, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust), Dr Janine Fletcher and Dr Jonathan Phillips supported since 2001 by 1 Clinical Research Fellow, 1 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 10 research students and 1 technician (0.5 fte). The group is investigating factors that precipitate beta-cell failure and hence the onset of type 2 diabetes in insulin-resistant individuals. Of particular interest are the toxic effects of high glucose and free fatty acids on the beta-cell (“glucolipotoxicity”) and in alterations in the expression of certain genes that may involved in this. This group was the first in the world to identify the role of Uncoupling Protein 2 (UCP2) in glucolipotoxicity where exposure of human pancreatic islets and beta-cell lines to high glucose levels leads to a substantial increase in UCP2 expression impairing the insulin-secretory function of the beta-cell. The group is currently investigating the mechanisms of this up-regulation of UCP2 and the possible involvement of PPAR nuclear receptors; an understanding of this process will help to find improved treatments for halting the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes. The group is also interested in the pathogenesis of endothelial dysfunction in diabetes, particularly that relating to inflammation, cell-cell interactions and atherogenesis. They are investigating the effects of high glucose and glycated proteins on endothelial cells, in particular the expression and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and intercellular adhesion molecules and production of intracellular reactive oxygen species that could play a role in recruitment of leukocytes to nascent atheromatous plaques.

The development of a taught award in Clinical Physiology has led to the recruitment of two experienced human physiologists (Anderson and Fletcher), both from the University of Birmingham. This development has occurred in parallel with the opening of a new state-of-the-art Heart and Lung Centre at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, a new facility that houses all clinical activities of these specialities together with extensive facilities for clinical research. This in turn has led to the appointment of several new Consultants with significant track records in both clinical and laboratory based research, which has provided the impetuous for the development of joint research activities between the University and Hospital. This collaboration has been supported through the appointment of Dr James Cotton as Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University. 

 

4. Microbiology and Disinfection Research Group Dr David Hill, Professor Michael Brown, Dr Elizabeth O’Gara, and Professor Craig Williams supported by 19 research students over the past 6 years . The research group is concerned with a wide variety of projects aimed at trying to understand the process of disinfection and antimicrobial chemotherapy. Professor Brown is interested in the role of stress on microbial pathogenicity with special reference to the role of poly-phosphate in this process. This work was initially conducted in collaboration with the late Dr Arthur Kornberg (Nobel Laureate) at Stanford University Medical School in California. Professor Brown received research funding of £123,000 from the Department of Health in September 2007 to further develop his programme of work on the relationship between antimicrobial resistance and protozoa. Hill is interested in the growth and survival of enteric pathogens like Campylobacter in aquatic systems, in acidic foods and on surfaces and the evaluation of health risks associated with bioaerosols of Aspergillus spores associated with commercial composting sites. The group is also interested in the process of microbial attachment to surfaces, formation of biofilms and factors affecting subsequent cleaning and disinfection and the development of antimicrobial coatings and surfaces including the incorporation of antimicrobials into polymers (Hill, Williams). Williams' research has been further supported by the award of an Alban PhD studentship (£40k) in 2004. O’Gara and Hill are interested in the effect of antimicrobial plant extracts on the growth of gastrointestinal bacteria (including Helicobacter), control of food spoilage and the factors affecting the efficacy (including synergy with other antimicrobial agents) of these extracts. A Food Standards Agency funded project on the microbiological hygiene of milk and milking with particular attention to the pathogen Mycobacterium paratuberculosis has recently been undertaken.

 

5. Molecular Immunology Research Group  Dr Paul Nelson and Dr Geoff Frampton supported by 1.5 Research Assistants, 10 research students and 1 technician (0.5 fte) over the RAE period. Scientists within this group are interested in the contribution of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVS) to the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and renal lupus. This has required the development of a wide variety of reliable probes for these viruses. Other studies (conducted in collaboration with King’s College, London) have addressed the role of autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of lupus and its variants through microarray analysis.

 

6. Molecular Pharmacology Research Group  Professor John Howl, Dr Angel Armesilla  and Dr Sarah Jones, supported since 2001 by 2 Research Fellows (1 jointly with Cancer Research Group), 6 research students and 1 technician (0.5 fte). Howl is developing peptides and peptide conjugates as research tools and non-viral vectors to study and manipulate intracellular signal transduction (funded by the Wellcome Trust). These strategies include rhegnylogically-organised mimetic peptides that are pro-apoptotic and anti-angiogenic. More applied studies are concerned with developing chimeric peptides as tumour-selective delivery systems (funded by the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust). These strategies utilise cell penetrating peptides, receptor ligands and tumour-homing sequences to achieve the selective delivery of cytotoxins, anti-cancer drugs such as temozolomide and multi-functional nanoparticles to cancer cells, vasculature and lymphatics. The involvement of the calcineurin/NFAT signal transduction pathway in the progression of tumour angiogenesis makes inhibition of this pathway an attractive target for therapeutic purposes. The activity of calcineurin, and therefore the subsequent NFAT activation, is inhibited by the immunosuppressant drugs cyclosporin A (CsA) and FK506. However, the clinical use of CsA is limited by the severe side effects of this drug and there is a need to develop more effective and less toxic agents to be used in clinic. In this context, Armesilla’s research group recently reported the role of the calcium pump PMCA4b as an inhibitor of the calcineurin-NFAT pathway and is using adenovirus vectors encoding PMCA to investigate the role of this calcium pump as an inhibitor of angiogenesis.

 

7. Pharmacy Research Group  Professor Kelvin Chan, Dr Timothy Baldwin, Professor Trevor Hocking, Dr Claire Martin and Dr Paul Rutter supported over the period by 15 research students. Following successful pre-accreditation of an MPharm award by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and recruitment of the first cohort of students in 2006 a new research grouping has been established to underpin the taught award. Chan has research interests in the evidence-based use of traditional Chinese Medicine in a Western context. This includes drug interactions between pharmaceuticals and Chinese herbal medical products, chemical constituent analysis of natural products and the development of pharmacological and biomarker-based models for investigating bioactivity of herbal remedies. He is also interested in developing methodologies and guidelines for quality assurance and safety of crude herbs and herbal products. This group has been strengthened by the addition of two plant scientists, Baldwin and Hocking who are working with Chan on the cultivation, extraction, analysis and pharmaceutical properties of natural products from plants.  Baldwin brings expertise in plant cell structures and storage components, specifically glucomannans, and Hocking has expertise in crop cultivation and the sustainability of cropping systems in South East Asia and sub-tropical China. With Chan, they are supervising a new programme on the Chinese herb Amorphophallus konjac and also collaborating on the cultivation and development of GAP for the commercial konjac crop with Yunnan Agricultural University. Hocking has recently secured grants of £126,000 from industry to continue his work on sustainable cultivation of non-food crops. Martin is interested in bio-pharmaceutical system stability, the development of co-formulation and processing strategies to minimize degradation as well as characterizing drug-delivery vehicles by atomic force microscopy. A University Early Researcher Award and institutional PhD bursary to undertake a research project involving the use of electrical impedance to examine the stability of therapeutically relevant excipients at reduced temperatures presently fund her. Rutter undertakes research aimed at evaluating the role of community pharmacists in counseling patients and prescribing OTC medicines and conducts much of this research in collaboration with members of the Applied Research in Health Policy, Evaluation and Practice Group within the SoH.

 

8. Psychology of Health Research Group  Professor Kenneth Manktelow, Dr Jane Carstairs, and Dr Martin Sharp supported by 13 research students over the RAE census period. The group is concerned with two broad aspects of the relation between cognition and health: the human response to psychologically stressful contexts, and the kinds of judgements and decisions people make in the face of their own health regulation behaviours and the services that support them. These interests are pursued in collaboration with members of RIHS from other subject backgrounds, as well as the NHS. Carstairs researches primarily on psychometric testing in work settings and occupational stress; Manktelow's work focuses on reasoning and decision-making; and Sharp investigates behavioural endocrinology and issues around evolution, gender and biology. A very recent appointment of Dr N Hulbert-Williams as Lecturer in Applied Psychology (not returned here) with a specific research interest in the importance of personality and appraisal in prediction of psychosocial outcome in cancer patients provides further capacity to develop multidisciplinary studies with the NHS and the Cancer Research Group in the future.

 

9. Sports, Exercise and Dance Research Group Professor Alan Nevill, Professor Yannis Koutedakis, Dr Steven Day, Dr George Metsios and Dr Matthew Wyon, supported by 12 research students since 2001. This group is centred on two senior academics with an established record of multidisciplinary working, Nevill and Koutedakis, who have a growing group of young academics developing research potential in new areas of sports and exercise science with a particular application to healthcare. Koutedakis and Wyon are developing a research grouping in the emerging area of dance science and medicine. Their research focuses on the genetic predisposition to injury in ballet dancers and employs MRI techniques to image the ankle joint. An AHRC grant and two PhD bursaries through HEFCE Capability Funding support them. A newly appointed member of staff, Dr M Wilson, (not returned here) is interested in the wider application of imaging techniques to investigate cardiac structure and function in athletes using gadolinium cardiac MRI (with Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust and King’s College, London). Day is interested in the interplay of genetic variability and performance, another new area of sports-related research that is developing considerable potential, through studies on the role of angiotensin-converting enzyme and polymorphism of the bradykinin receptor and interacts with geneticists in other parts of RIHS. Metsios and Koutedakis have been engaged in studies centred on the contribution of exercise to improving outcome in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Much of the work of this group is underpinned by Nevill whose methodological research interests have contributed to the development and application of rigorous techniques to identify population differences in sports and health-related indices. Nevill also provides a comprehensive statistical consultancy service to RIHS that has greatly contributed to preparing high quality research bids and the dissemination of data in high quality journals.

 

Research Students and Studentships

 

The supervision and training of graduate research students is an important part of the activities of RIHS. Over the period of assessment there has been a growing community of postgraduate research students totalling 100.5. RIHS has supported 68 students to completion, 62 at PhD level and 6 MPhils (all of whom initially registered for this award). Nine of these were shared with other Departments in the University. Many of these students have gone on to postdoctoral study in the UK (including the Universities of Birmingham, Warwick, and London), Europe and the USA. There has been some success in attracting externally-funded studentships, although the majority (25)have been the result of institutional investment. A steady stream of self-funded students provides evidence of the quality of the research in RIHS as well as an indication of the sustainability of PhD activity into the future.   

 

Two professional doctorates, one in Counselling Psychology (which has been running for 3 years) and one in Biomedical Sciences (very recently validated) further strengthen the relationship between the University and the NHS. Both awards include a substantial research element of 120 credits. The research element of these degrees are administered by RIHS and monitored and judged using the same quality criteria used for MPhil/PhD registrations. It is expected that research carried out as part of these awards is of MPhil/PhD quality but of lower volume commensurate with the credit rating of the module. As with other research degrees, the research component is assessed by viva voce examination with external examiners appointed on a student-by-student basis. Three professional doctorate students at the thesis stage of their programme have been included in the student numbers in RA3.

 

The University is presently validating two new research degrees, an MRes that combines a substantial research training programme with a research project and is likely to appeal to NHS employees and an MSc by research that will appeal to overseas students and those in industry attempting to expand their research activities. Both degrees will further develop research activity between the University and its partners.

 

A team of academic staff supervises each research student. The Director of Studies is the primary supervisor and is supported by a minimum of one additional member of staff with appropriate subject knowledge and supervisory experience. New members of staff undergo a programme of research supervisor training provided by the Graduate School. The supervisory team approach provides an opportunity for less experienced members of staff to develop and hone their supervisory skills, as well as actively supporting multidisciplinary projects. PhD projects are conducted in accordance with the University's Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes, which meets or exceeds the precepts of the QAA Code of Practice. Research student progress is regularly monitored, and students are expected to present data at least once per year during RIHS's Seminar Programme; the Annual one-day Research Conference provides opportunities for poster presentations and more detailed progress reports. In addition, RIHS organises a full programme of multidisciplinary healthcare science research seminars presented by external speakers, and the Royal Society of Chemistry also supports a research seminar series.

  

Because of the importance of conference participation for graduate students, funds are set aside to provide all such students with the opportunity to present data at one national meeting per year and the opportunity to present data and network at an appropriate international meeting in their 3rd year (or equivalent for those registered part-time). In practice, using student bursaries from learned societies and favourable travel/accommodation/registration fees set by conference organisers for this category of students, it is usually possible to extend the scope for travel in many instances. RIHS also encourages research students to use the international contacts made by Institute members and funding available from learned societies to spend some time abroad, gaining experience in working in large laboratories and in different research cultures.

 

Research Income

 

From a very low base in RAE 2001 (£149,000, 1996-2000, or £18.6k per member of staff), research income secured directly into RIHS and in partnership with others has grown considerably over the assessment period. At present, income secured directly by members of RIHS (as detailed in RA4a) is £2.4million (£65.6k per member of staff) . As requested, we have itemised funds secured though partnership with others by individuals returned in this submission below (a total of over £2.9 million) and referred to new substantial grants awarded after July 2007 in this narrative. A further £75,000 has been secured from the Mercia Spinner scheme to aid commercialisation of research findings.

 

 

UoW Applicant

Source of Funding

Amount (£)

Institution administering award

Armesilla

Wellcome Trust, Entry Level Research 

Training Fellowship, Dr M Buch

56,568

Manchester

Armesilla, Cotton and Dunmore

Cordis Clinical Cardiology Research Scholarship

60,000

Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

Brown

Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research

 (CAMR)

25,000

Bath University

 

MAFF

110,211

ditto

 

Lord Dowding Fund

89,465

 ditto

 

Department of Health

217,028

 ditto

 

Ellison Medical Foundation

60,000

 ditto

 

Health Protection Agency

50,000

 ditto

Carstairs

The Psychological Corporation

144,866

Macquarie University, Australia

 

Harcourt Assessment

132,405

ditto

Chan

Hong Kong Research Council

67,143

Baptist University, Hong Kong

 

Hong Kong Research Council

97,979

ditto

 

Hong Kong Research Council

44,571

ditto

 

Vigconic International Ltd

9,813

ditto

 

Hong Kong Department of Health

228,571

ditto

 

Vigconic International Ltd

42,857

ditto

 

Hong Kong Department of Health

107,143

ditto

 

Baptist Chinese Medicine Research Centre Ltd

 Trust Fund

24,286

ditto

 

Fortune Harvests Investments Ltd

43,142

ditto

Cross

Department of Health

150,000

Warwick

Cross, Shah

Birmingham and Black Country SHA

180,000

Birmingham

Cross

West Midlands Postgraduate Medical and

 Dental Deanery

90,000

ditto

Darling

Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust

117,470

UCL, London

 

Colin Oliphant Trust

150,000

ditto

 

Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust

99,000

ditto

Frampton

Arthritis Research Campaign

168,088

King's College, London

Hocking Chinese National and Yunnan Provincial Gvts 327,000 Yunnan Agricultural University, China

Sharp

Chief Scientist’s Office

20,000

Queen Margaret University 

College, Edinburgh

 

World Anti-Doping Agency

60,000

ditto

Martin, C BBSRC 293,656 School of Pharmacy,
University of London

Wang W

Tenovus - Scotland

9,960

Glasgow

 

Glasgow NHS Endowment Funds

7,370

ditto

 

ditto

7,380

ditto

 

ditto

7,370

ditto

 

Varied income streams without undue reliance on a small number of sources remains a feature of RIHS and underpins its sustainability. These include substantial funding from sources with rigorous peer review including the Research Councils, Government Departments and Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)-accredited charities.

 

The University and RIHS provide considerable support to those individuals applying for external funding. The Graduate School provides extensive help in providing information about opportunities for bidding for grants and there have been a successful programme of FP6 and now FP7 briefing sessions that have encouraged academic staff to pursue this route for funding. Grant applications are scrutinised by RI Director. More senior members of RIHS who have a track record in generating research grant income act as informal mentors to more junior staff and this atmosphere of constructive feedback has led to an improvement in the quality of submitted bids. The Graduate School and the University Finance Division also scrutinise bids in order to ensure financial accuracy and regulatory compliance including full economic costing where that is appropriate. This process is extremely streamlined and takes place within 2 to 3 working days of receipt of the grant application. Delay is minimised and academic staff has welcomed this.

 

Staffing Policy

 

The total number of academic staff included in this submission is 39 (against 8 in RAE 2001). The University has recruited nineteen of these since January 2001, all from research-intensive universities either in the UK or abroad. They have brought not only a wealth of research experience gained elsewhere, but also a more outward looking perspective on how scientific research is conducted on a national and international stage and have helped bring about a cultural change in the way RIHS conducts research. Some of these new appointments have been made specifically in order to boost research in certain areas (Armesilla and Wang). The recruitment of other new staff has been bolstered by curriculum developments, in particularly in Pharmacy and Clinical Physiology, and synergies between the development of the teaching portfolio and research strategy is an important element of RIHS's strategy for sustainability. Leading Pharmacy, Professor Kelvin Chan (Baptist University, Hong Kong) was recruited in October 2005 as the Head of the new Pharmacy Department. Other new staff on supporting this aware include a research professor in Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Professor Michael Brown (from the University of Bath) and two research-active senior lecturers, one in Pharmaceutics (Dr Clare Martin from the School of Pharmacy, University of London) and Pharmacy Practice (Dr Paul Rutter formerly of the University of Portsmouth). The development of Clinical Physiologyhas led to the recruitment of two experienced human physiologists at Senior Lecturer level (Dr Steven Anderson and Dr Janine Fletcher) both with extensive postdoctoral research experience at the University of Birmingham. Both these individuals, despite a relatively short time in post are engaged in research projects with the new Heart and Lung Institute at New Cross Hospital.

Several of these are early stage researchers and ensuring their successful integration into the research culture is one of RIHS's key roles.  This is complemented by the University's Early Researcher Award Scheme which provides competitively-allocated funding and a programme of support to enable newly-postdoctoral members of staff to develop their research further; O'Gara and C Martin have each received one of these awards. Early stage researchers provide the basis for long term planning of research strategy, including succession planning and therefore they are a key element in RIHS's sustainability into the future. 

Both established and early stage researchers who join RIHS affiliate themselves to one of the research groups, which provides a research-rich environment and opportunities for collaboration. Funding for institutionally-funded bursaries is available on a competitive basis to further support staff research, as is access to the consumable materials, equipment  and travel budgets.

 

RIHS has also created a cadre of postdoctoral research fellowships and postgraduate research assistants to engineer change in the structure of research groups. Securing of several additional postdoctoral positions with external income has accelerated these changes. It is the intention to move from research groups that are broadly pyramidal in shape, comprised of a relatively small number of academic member of staff supported by a large number of graduate students, to a structure where academics are supported by a larger numbers of experienced and skilled post-doctoral scientists or technicians, with a smaller group of graduate students. Such diamond-shaped groups provide a richer scientific environment and a better educational experience for graduate students, and are therefore more supportive of successful and timely completions. The University is fully supportive of the Research Careers Initiative and will couple the growth of postdoctoral staff with appropriate career and staff development opportunities. In this way we will sustain research activity and high quality graduate student supervision whilst driving change in the way that research is conducted.

 

Honorary appointments also provide a valuable opportunity for RIHS to interact with the National Health Service. All Category C staff co-supervise graduate students and fellows, hold joint research awards and publish with University staff.

 

Three academics, Professor Paul Kingston, Dr David Maslin and Dr Rebecca Jester left the University during the period of assessment and are returned as Category B staff. These individuals would have contributed to this submission had they remained in post. All engaged in research student supervision and income generation and were particularly active in developing research ethos through mentoring and supporting the younger academics who remain at the University and form part of this submission.

 

Research Facilities

 

The University is committed to a wide-ranging programme of improvement in its estate providing new facilities for both teaching and research. This is being accomplished by a mixture of refurbishment of existing buildings and new-build where more cost effective. Many aspects of the University building programme have been commended as exemplars of good practice (see “Promoting space efficiency in building design”, HEFCE, 2006 and “Spaces for learning: A review of learning spaces in further and higher education”, Scottish Funding Council, 2006). With regard to the present submission this has resulted in the creation of high-quality laboratory accommodation for biomedical research in 2001. This includes four class II cell culture suites, general laboratory accommodation, and offices for research staff, together with new cold room facilities. A fully equipped histology laboratory was established in 2005. Further refurbishment in 2006 provided new laboratory accommodation for medical and pharmaceutical microbiology to class II standards. Using SRIF3 funds a specialised cell culture suite for manipulation of adenovirus vectors was completed in 2006. The development of the MPharm award in 2006 has resulted in the refurbishment of further laboratory accommodation, principally for teaching, but also to provide laboratories that will underpin the development of pharmacy research. There has been considerable investment in research facilities for sport sciences through the establishment of the BASES-accredited Lifestyle Performance Centre. The University is currently considering options for concentrating all laboratory-based biological research and teaching into a new building that reflects the needs of twenty-first century biology and the University’s commitment to the further development of these disciplines.

 

The University has committed a sizeable proportion of its SRIF2 and 3 funding to provide major pieces of equipment. In biomedicine this includes the purchase of confocal fluorescence microscope with an environmental chamber, a FACalibur flow cytometer/cell sorter, and equipment for molecular cytogenetics and microarray techniques, a STORM phosphor-imager and equipment for real-time PCR. A new scanning electron microscope and a laser-capture dissection microscope are also available. Sport science research has benefited from investment in Metalyser 3B and Oxycon online gas analysis systems, Analox GM7 multi-assay blood analyser, KinCom isokinetic dynamometer, a Qualisys motion capture system, a Bertec force platform, a Delsys 12 EMG system, a vibration platform and an RS scan pressure plate. The newly acquired AD instruments PowerLab and a Digitimer stimulator further enhance our ability to examine in vitro skeletal muscle function. The School of Health moved into a new building in 2004 (The Mary Seacole Building). This provides excellent facilities for healthcare-related researchers including appropriate IT infrastructure and a health skills laboratory.

 

As further funding becomes available, the equipment needs of RIHS are discussed with the Deans of School in order to ensure that new equipment purchase provide best value for money. The sustainability of major pieces of equipment is underpinned by requiring all grant applications include a contribution towards the upkeep of specific pieces of equipment where appropriate.

 

The Future

 

The UoA has grown considerably in numbers of academic staff since 2001 and this expansion has not been at the expense of quality. This expansion has been coupled with a step-change in terms of income generation and the recruitment of young research active staff and this suggests that our research activity in this area is becoming sustainable in the long-term. In the next five years there are areas in which we would wish to consolidate and expand our activity. These include:

 

  • Further expansion of translational research in cancer, cardiopulmonary medicine and metabolic medicine with HEIs and in partnership with the NHS and other organisations regionally, nationally and internationally. Specifically we will concentrate on malignant brain tumours, colon cancer, female reproductive cancers, unstable angina and diabetes.
  • Expand our research in areas around ethnicity that lead to inequalities in health and social care provision and where we can conduct research that informs government policy in addressing these issues. Areas of immediate concern include mental health, open-angle glaucoma and men’s sexual health.
  • Consolidate and expand pharmacy research to provide a distinctive portfolio of research in this area that builds on existing strengths including microbiology whilst developing new strengths in areas like pharmaceutics and natural product research.
  • Establish a multidisciplinary research network involving clinicians, scientists, engineers and healthcare professionals in the area of vision science concentrating initially on open-angle glaucoma.
  • Expand research links between those interested in the health benefits of exercise and laboratory scientists interested in cardio-pulmonary biology and metabolic medicine in order to develop research programmes in this key area of government policy.

 

Esteem Indicators

 

Virtually all members of RIHS are engaged in the assessment of scientific manuscripts and regularly review contributions to over 100 scientific and medical journals. Staff also regularly assessed grant applications for Research Councils and other organisations in the UK. In addition, members of RIHS are asked to review international research activity including: Singapore Medical Research Council, National Research Foundation, South Africa (Adamson-Macedo); Italian Cancer Research Society, Neurological Foundation of New Zealand (Darling); Czech Ministry of Science (Darling, Nelson); UICC International Cancer Technology Transfer Fellowship Scheme (Wang); Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (Chan); Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale, France, Czech Academy of Sciences (Howl); and Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Hooley). Members of RIHS regularly examine research degrees within the UK and abroad and to give research seminars within the UK and internationally.

Invited Conference Presentations

In addition to invited conference presentations in the UK, members of RIHS are regularly invited to present at international meetings. These include: 15th World Congress of the International Society of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine in Budapest, Hungary, 2002; Paris Conference on ‘Le bébé et les ruptures, Association ‘La Cause des Bébés’, 2001; Vienna Child Care Symposium and Mothers Workshop, 2001; Conferencia sobre ‘Cuidados com o bébé pretermo’, 2002 (Brasil, Sao Luis-Maranhao); and Brasilia ‘Saude Perinatal, Educaçăo e Desenvolvimento do Bêbê’, 2001 and 2003 (Adamson-Macedo); American Society for Microbiology and Confederation of European Microbiology Societies, 2002; and Gordon Conference on Stress, Boston USA, 2004 (Brown); 12th Asian Symposium on Medicinal Plants, Spices and other Natural Products, Padang, Indonesia 2006; 17th Singapore Pharmacy Congress, Singapore National University, 2005; Asia Pacific Economic Conference, Hong Kong, 2002; Asia Pacific Conference on Tumour Biology, Beijing, 2001 (Chan); Conference on Transcultural Neuropsychology, Copenhagen 2002 (Carstairs); 33rd Congress of the Czech Society of Pathologists and 2nd Satellite Symposium and Workshop of Molecular Pathology, Olomouc, Czech Republic (Darling, Nelson); invited participant to 16th International Conference on Brain Tumour Research and Therapy, Silverado, Napa Valley California, 2006 (Darling); 11th World Conference in Lung Cancer, Barcelona, Spain 2005, (Ferry); Wenner-Gren Foundation International Symposium, Stockholm 2005; 29th European Peptide Symposium, Gdansk, Poland, 2006; 4th International Peptide Symposium, Cairns, Australia, 2007 (Howl); British Council of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2007 (Jones); International Symposium on Thinking, Evolution and Culture, Tokyo 2004; Workshop on Semantic Processing, Logic and Cognition, Tubingen Germany 2005 (Manktelow); European College of Sports Sciences, Clermont-Ferrand 2004 (Nevill); Ophthalmic Association of the West Indies, Barbados, 2004; European Glaucoma Society, Florence, Italy 2004; World Glaucoma Congress, Vienna Austria, 2005; AOGS/RANZCO Glaucoma Conference, Cairns Australia 2005 (Shah); Dance Medicine and Science Conference, The Hague, Holland, 2003; International Symposium on Dance and Medicine, Helsinki, Finland, 2005 (Wyon).

 

Organisation of Conferences and Conference Sessions

Royal Society of Medicine, The Premature Baby, Causes, Treatments and Consequences, Wolverhampton, 2006 (Adamson-Macedo); International Symposium for the Modernisation of Chinese Medicine, Taipei 2006; 17th Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Scientists, Hong Kong 2005, Hong Kong Institute of Science Annual Conference 2004; Congress of Asian Analysis Symposium, Hong Kong 2004 (Chan); Organising Committee and Scientific Advisory Board, 14th International Conference on Brain Tumour Research and Therapy, Asheville, NC, USA, 2001; Organiser, British Neuro-Oncology Society Meeting, Telford 2004; Education Day, World Federation of Neuro-oncology Societies, Edinburgh, 2005; Organising Committee, British Neuro-Oncology Society Meeting, London, 2006 (Darling); Diabetes UK 2006 Meeting, Scientific Programme Committee (Dunmore); Biochemical Society Focused Meeting on Cell Penetrating Peptides, Telford, 2007 (Howl, Jones); Organisation of the first International Conference Workshop on human endogenous retroviruses at British Society for Immunology, Harrogate, 2004 (Nelson); International Congress on Glaucoma Surgery, Toronto, 2006 (Shah); International Zeolite Conference, Edinburgh, 2001 (Williams)

Chaired Symposia/Scientific Sessions

International Society for Heart Research, European Section Meeting, Manchester 2006; Judge, Festival of Postgraduate Research, Leicester, 2006; UK Grad Midlands Hub Poster Competition, Warwick, 2006; and Great British Research and Development Show, House of Commons, London, 2007 (Armesilla); 6th Australian Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 2006 (Carstairs); 15th World Congress of Pharmacology, Beijing, China 2005 (Chan); World Federation of Neuro-oncology Societies Meeting, Edinburgh, 2005; Society for Neuro-oncology Meeting, Keystone, Colorado, 2004; British Neuro-oncology Society Meeting, Telford, 2004, London 2006 and Portsmouth 2007 (Darling); Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2007 (Dunmore); 17th Annual Meeting, International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, Canberra, Australia 2007 (Koutedakis and Wyon); 5th International Conference on Thinking, Leuwen Belgium (Manktelow); British Society for Immunology, Harrogate 2004 (Nelson).

 

Evidence of impact of research on government policy and national and international practice development 

Individuals returned in this submission are involved in many aspects of government and NHS policy and practice development: 

Innovation in the NHS: MIDTECH, West Midlands NHS Innovation Hub (Board Member and Director); CENTECH West Midlands Biotechnology Exploitation Platform Steering Group Member and Board of Directors (Darling)

National Cancer Research Institute: Clinical Director, Greater Midlands Cancer Research Network (Ferry)

Shaping Mental Health Service Improvement: Sallah has been instrumental over the period in a number of initiatives, working with the Healthcare Commission Standing Advisory Review Committee, the Home Office, and the Metropolitan Police Authority. He is Director of the National Institute for Mental Health in England's (NIMHE) black and minority ethnic mental health programme; National Director, DoH/CSIP programme for Delivering Race Equality in Mental Healthcare, and chairs the National Mental Health Ethnicity Census Project Board. He is on the Cross Government reference Group on Management of Violence and NIMHE's Research and Development Advisory Group. He also chairs the Ethnicity in Mental Health Census Programme Board (Count Me In) and has been a member of four independent inquiries into homicides in Mental Health Services;

Men's Sexual Health in Black and Ethnic Minorities and Asylum Seekers: Serrant-Green has been heavily involved in practice development and policy formation through participation in initiatives such as Actioning the Sexual Health Strategy. She is a member of the Royal College of Nursing (UK and Ireland) Sexual Health Programme Team, Leader of the Research and Education Group and the Independent Advisory Group advising the DoH on sexual health and HIV. She is a national advisor on black and minority ethnic issues and the Strategic Alliance Working Party for INVOLVE;

Glaucoma and ethnicity: HPA/DoH Working Party assessing the impact of nvCJD in ophthalmology (Shah); Shah and Cross are working with the Jamaican Government to reduce glaucoma blindness in the Jamaican population.

Honours and Awards

Fellow, Royal Society of Medicine (Adamson-Macedo, Chan); DSc (Brown, Manchester University, Chan,Birmingham University); Fellow, School of Pharmacy, University of London (Brown); Fellow, American College of Clinical Pharmacology (Chan); Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry (Williams); Fellow, Institute of Biology (Brown, Chan); Fellow, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (Brown, Chan); Fellow, Royal Microscopical Society (Darling); Friendship with Yunnan Medal of Honour, Yunnan Provincial Government; Honorary Life Member, Association of Applied Biologists (Hocking); Fellow, Royal Statistical Society (Nevill).

Prizes

Students: Silver-Gilt Award, Royal Horticultural Society (2006, supervisor, Baldwin); Eli-Lilly Prize for best poster Diabetes UK Society Meeting, University of Glasgow (2004, supervisor Dunmore), Best Poster, XIX International Congress of the Transplantation Society, Miami, USA, (2002, supervisor Frampton); British Neuro-oncology Society (2004, supervisors Howl and Nicholl); President’s Poster Award, Student Award and Poster Design Prize, 17th Annual Meeting, International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, Canberra, Australia (2007, supervisors Koutedakis and Wyon); Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences Commended Poster, (2005), Analytical Science Award, British Pharmaceutical Conference (2007), Wellcome Trust Summer Studentship, 2007 (Martin, C); Research Presentation Prize, Royal Society of Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry Meeting (2002, supervisor, Williams). 

Staff: Churchill Life Fellow, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (Chan); Smith and Nephew Research Fellow (2002) and Florence Nightingale Research Travel Fellow (2004) (Serrant-Green), Best Show Video, American Academy of Ophthalmology, (2004, Shah); Contribution to the Field Award, 16th International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, West Palm Beach, USA (2006, Wyon).

 

Counsellorships of Scientific and Medical Societies

Members of RIHS are elected members of over 50 learned societies in the UK, Europe and the USA and regularly attend and present data at their meetings. In addition, many have played a senior and/or advisory role in these organisations: President, Maternity and the Newborn Section, Royal Society of Medicine (Adamson-Macedo);  Council Member, Hong Kong Institute of Science; and Council Member, Hong Kong Biotechnology Association (Chan); Chair, Continuing Professional Development Panel and Educational Awards Panel, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (Cross); President, British Neuro-oncology Society; Membership Committee, Programme Review Committee and Honours and Awards Committee, North American Society for Neuro-Oncology and College of Experts; CancerBackup; Management Committee, Brain Tumour NorthWest (Darling); Council Member and National Programme Secretary, Association of Applied Biologists (Hocking); Board Member, International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (Koutedakis, Wyon); Board of Directors, Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Martin, C); Board Member, European Federation for Men’s Health and Development, Board Member, Royal College of Nursing National Research Forum (Serrant-Green); Trustee, International Glaucoma Association; Member, Oxford Ophthalmological Congress (Shah); International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD) International Board; Secretary, Royal Society of Chemistry Industrial Inorganic Chemical Section (Williams); Board Member, Medical Advisory Committee, Dance UK (Wyon).

Membership of Grant Review Boards

Biology and Medicine Panel, Hong Kong Research Council (Chan); MRC College of Experts, Scientific, Medical Advisory Board; Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust; and Brain Tumour UK (Darling); Consensus Group Proposal Evaluator EC FP6 (Howl); EPSRC Peer Review Panel (Williams).

Editorial Activity

Neuro-endocrinology Letters, International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine (Board Member, Adamson-Macedo); Biofilms (Board Member, Brown), Complementary and Integrative Medicine (Editor, Chan); European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics; Drug Metabolism and Drug Interactions; and Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology (Board Member, Chan); Australian Psychologist (Associate Editor, Carstairs); Physiotherapy (Board Member Cross); Neuro-oncology (Board Member, Darling); British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease (Board Member, Dunmore); Mycological Research (Editor, Hooley), Recent Patents in Anticancer Drug Discovery (Associate Editor, Howl); Thinking and Reasoning (Board Member, Manktelow); Journal of Sports Sciences (Editor-in-Chief, Nevill); International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, Annals of Human Biology (Board Member, Nevill); World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology (Board Member, O’Gara); Journal of Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care (Editor, Sallah), Nurse Researcher (Editor, Serrant-Green), Community Practitioner Journal (Board Member, Serrant-Green), Eye (Glaucoma Section Editor, Shah).

 

International Research Collaboration and Appointments with other Universities

 

Visiting Researcher, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (Adamson-Macedo); Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Birmingham (Anderson, Howl, Fletcher); University of Silesia (Baldwin); Stanford University Medical School (Brown); Visiting Professor, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang China; Guest Professor, Institute of Pharmacognosy and Pharmacy, University of Vienna, Austria; and Visiting Professor, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Beijing, China (Chan); Hon Senior Fellow, University College, University of London; Visiting Professor in Neuro-oncology, University of Central Lancashire; Honorary Professor, North China Coal Medical University, Tangshan, China (Darling); Palacky University (Darling, Nelson); Honorary Professor Yunnan Agricultural University, China (Hocking);University of Stockholm (Howl); Honorary Director, Institute of Human Performance and Rehabilitation, Centre for Research and Technology, Tessaly, Greece; Distinguished Visitor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA (Koutedakis); Gifu Pharmaceutical University, Japan (Martin, C); University of Western Australia and Honorary Lecturer St George’s Hospital Medical School (Nelson);  Honorary Lecturer, University of Bath (Rutter); University of Texas at Austin (Sharp); Visiting Lecturer, University of Tampere, Finland (Stepney); Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Williams).

 

Other Notable Publications

Members of staff have published the following books and other notable invited publications in the period of assessment: The Psychology of Preterm Neonates, Mattes Verlag, Heidelberg, 2002; an invited contribution to the Oxford Companion to the Mind on “Neo-haptic Touch” (Adamson-Macedo); Integrated Medical Sciences - The Essentials, John Wiley, 2007 (Anderson); The Way Forward for Chinese Medicine, Harwood Academic Publishers, 2002 (Chan); Peptide Synthesis and Applications, Humana Press, Totowa NJ, USA 2005 (Editor, Howl); Psychology of Reasoning: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives, Psychology Press, Hove, 2004 (Editor, Manktelow); Practical Immunology, Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, 2002 (Nelson); Authors of "Top Ten" papers read in electronic version of "Molecular Pathology" (Nelson, Martin, J, Hooley); Community Pharmacy: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment, Churchill Livingstone, 2004; Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment: A guide for Pharmacists and Nurses, Churchill Livingstone, 2005 (Rutter); Men’s Sexual Health, Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.,2007 (Serrant-Green); ABC of Eyes, BMJ Books 2004, Key Topics in Ophthalmology 2001 (Shah); Chemistry for Environmental and Earth Scientists, Taylor and Francis, 2007 (CRC Press) (Williams).

 

A full list of publications, 2001-2007, is available at http://wlv.openrepository.com/wlv/