Birmingham is constantly developing and evolving in its desire to become a leading global university. This is being achieved through our enhanced research power and reach; the distinctiveness of our exceptional student experience; the breadth and depth of our academic portfolio; our size and the extent of our global networks.
There are some example below of how Birmingham is moving towards a future as a leading global university.
The University has established new international partnerships in Brazil and China. In Guangzhou, China, the University is working with the municipal government on a number of collaborative agreements and has three, first-phase biomedical research projects under way. In Brazil, the University is working in partnership with the University of Nottingham to strengthen its academic links across the country.
Alice Roberts appointed Professor of Public Engagement in Science
Clinical anatomist, author and broadcaster Alice Roberts was appointed the University's first Professor of Public Engagement in Science.
Alice carries out a range of academic duties which include teaching first year medical students, second year Biosciences and intercalating medics along with supervising PhD students. As part of Alice’s role as Professor of Public Engagement in Science she helps to promote the University’s academics and their research to the general public, and to inspire people about science.
New particle at the Large Hadron Collider discovered
Working closely with colleagues at CERN to analyse data taken by the ATLAS experiment, researchers have been at the centre of what is believed to be the first clear observation of a new particle at the Large Hadron Collider. The particle, the Chi-b(3P), is a new way of combining a beauty quark and its antiquark so that they bind together.
Groundbreaking cancer research
University of Birmingham experts have contributed to groundbreaking cancer research over the last year, with study focusing on three key areas:
Breakthrough in treatment: scientists have discovered a modified form of the drug MDMA - commonly known as Ecstasy - has 100 times more cancer-busting properties than the popular recreational drug itself and hope it may eventually be produced in a safe form to treat patients.
Bladder cancer: a major bladder cancer trial led by the University has shown that adding two commonly used chemotherapy drugs to traditional radiotherapy can reduce the chance of a tumour coming back by a third.
Adrenal cancer: endocrinologists at Birmingham have played a key role in a major international clinical trial which has found that giving a combination of chemotherapy drugs to patients suffering from advanced adrenal cancer can help them to live up to a fifth longer.
University hosts Olympic gold winners
The University hosted the Jamaican Track and Field team's pre-Olympic training camp in July 2012 and even got a 'Big Up' from gold medal winners Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake after their 4 x 100m relay victory.
Leading autism research
The University’s expert research into improving support for people with autism is internationally recognised. Most recently the schools of Psychology and Education have pioneered a new community oriented early assessment and intervention research model designed to ensure effective intervention with children with autism and related developmental difficulties at an earlier age.
Groundbreaking work using Robots as classroom buddies for children with autism to improve social interaction and communication was also undertaken by researchers in the School of Education.
Max and Ben, two knee-high humanoid robots that can dance to “Thriller”, play games and emulate Tai Chi have been used in the classroom to help model good behaviour and act as buddies.
Can you die of a broken heart?
Immunity experts at the University have found biological evidence to suggest that bereavement lowers physical immunity, putting older people at risk of life-threatening infections. They have found that the emotional stress of bereavement is associated with a drop in the efficiency of white blood cells known as neutrophils, which combat infections such as pneumonia, a major cause of death in older adults.
Queens prize marks sweet success
The Centre for Formulation Engineering in the School of Chemical Engineering was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its pioneering research into the microstructure of materials such as chocolate, paints and washing detergents.
Unlocking the West Midlands accent
The region’s linguistic heritage was explored in a new research project looking at how far people in the region share the language of their predecessors, captured in the Vernon Manuscript, the biggest surviving late-medieval English manuscript.
Impressive league table rise
The University was short-listed for University of the Year in The Sunday Times University Guide 2013 and ranked at 13th overall in the UK, a rise of 12 places.
In the 2012 National Student Survey Birmingham significantly improved its performance in all 22 questions and in 19 out of 22 questions our scores are the highest that the university has ever achieved. We were also ranked 9th out of the 24 Russell Group universities, a rise of eight places from 17th in 2011.
Against the 'Overall Satisfaction' question, we achieved a score of 88%, which is 3% higher than the sector average, and 3% higher than our score last year. Our overall score on "teaching" places us joint fourth within the Russell Group.
Test identified heart defects in babies
A simple test to measure blood oxygen in newborns has been shown to identify babies with life-threatening congenital heart defects, a major cause of infant mortality in the developed world. More than 20,000 mothers and babies took part in the PulseOx study, the largest UK investigation into screening newborns for congenital heart defects. As a direct result of thefindings, PulseOx screening has now been rolled out across North America.