Following a review in 2011 and a detailed options appraisal through 2012, the University Executive Board has supported a proposal from the College of Medical and Dental Sciences (MDS), in collaboration and agreement with the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (LES), that Physiotherapy is relocated from the School of Health and Population Sciences in MDS, to the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences in LES.
The appraisal of all the possible options for Physiotherapy was undertaken inclusively and transparently, involving staff and students from the department. The University also ensured that all relevant external stakeholders, including local NHS partners, were engaged through the process.
The options appraisal took place in order to establish the best possible configuration and location of Physiotherapy to ensure sustainability in terms of financial position and SHA commissioned numbers, academic excellence (teaching and research) and graduate distinctiveness.
The rationale for re-location
This proposal is based on the recognition of a strong academic case for bringing Physiotherapy into much closer alignment with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences (SportEx). It is felt that there will be mutual benefits for provision of teaching, stronger clinical links with major cross-College initiatives in musculoskeletal sciences, ageing, trauma and rehabilitation and would provide Sportex with strong existing partnerships with NHS Trusts to further its ambitions in translational research.
The strong inter-disciplinary research culture and leadership in Sportex has the potential to provide an appropriate and supportive academic environment to grow the research contribution of Physiotherapy. The academic profile of Physiotherapy and Sportex undergraduates is comparable and many SportEx undergraduates undertake postgraduate Physiotherapy training. It is also noted that there is no common template for the academic affiliations of Physiotherapy in the sector and that transferring Physiotherapy provision to SportEx is aligned with the aspirations of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists.
In short, it is felt by both Colleges that Physiotherapy research and teaching activity within SportEx will have the potential to elicit research and teaching synergies for both partners; will retain the existing highly regarded undergraduate programme with the potential for further development and offers the opportunity to further develop a strong portfolio of postgraduate programmes.
Our Physiotherapy students are some of the most highly sought after in the UK. By making this positive proposal to relocate Physiotherapy into SportEx we are making a clear commitment to further strengthening the calibre and quality of our students and our future graduates. The University will make every effort to ensure there is minimum disruption to current Physiotherapy students during this period. We also believe that we can enhance the student experience in SportEx by affording students access to academics with a broader range of teaching and research interests.
Physiotherapy students will be kept up-to-date over the coming months regarding the implementation of the relocation proposal and will be actively encouraged to provide input into the process. As part of this process the University will also be liaising closely with the President of the Guild of students over the coming weeks and months.
Vision for the future
Professor Eric Jenkinson, Acting Head of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, comments, “Relocating Physiotherapy into the School of Sports and Exercise Sciences is a proactive and positive move. The research synergies between the respective academic disciplines will open up the possibility of exciting new research collaborations and developments whilst our Physiotherapy students will have the added benefit of having contact with academics and students in the fields of Sports and Exercise Sciences.”
Professor Malcolm Press, Head of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, comments, “We are delighted at the prospect of Physiotherapy moving to the School of Sports and Exercise Sciences, which will generate new educational and research opportunities in cognate areas, including trauma, rehabilitation and motor control. The combination of traditional disciplines within the newly integrated School will put us in a unique position in the UK to deliver teaching programmes and research activity that address key global challenges in the area of lifelong health and well being.”
This webpage will be updated following the period of consultation. We encourage anyone with questions about the Physiotherapy proposal to send them to the following email address: