Excellence at Birmingham

Aston WebbBirmingham is proud of being ranked a Top 100 university in the world. Since our foundation in 1900 we have established a powerful reputation for high quality fundamental research, research that addresses the challenges of our time and innovative, research-integrated teaching which is reflected in our performance in all major international league tables. 

College of Medical and Dental Sciences

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences is the largest of the University’s five Colleges. With over 1,000 academic staff and researchers, and around £80m new research funding per year, it represents a major international centre for biomedical research.College of Medical and Dental Sciences building

Our research is supported by peer-reviewed multi-million-pound funding from a broad range of funders, including Research Councils UK, medical research charities such as Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Bloodwise, Versus Arthritis and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) as well as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the European Union.

This is complemented by strategically important support from other government bodies (such as Birmingham City Council, the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Department of Health, the Office for Life Sciences) and increasing funding from industrial partners including large pharmaceutical companies (e.g. GSK and Roche) and SMEs (e.g. Vital Therapies). 

  • The University of Birmingham was ranked in the top 50 universities worldwide for Clinical Medicine in 2019 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as the Shanghai Ranking
  • It was ranked in the top 100 universities by the QS World University Rankings 2019 for Medicine
  • Our Dentistry course is ranked in the top 50 by the QS World University Rankings 2019 

Research strength and facilities

With an average field weighted citation impact of 2.30 for medical and dental sciences our research is truly world-leading and over 25% of our publications appear in the top 10% cited papers worldwide. Our collaborative ethos and the multi- and inter-disciplinary nature of our research are highlighted by the fact that over 75% of our publications are developed in collaboration with national and international partners.

The College has an impressive range of facilities to support its teaching and research activities, many of which have been described above, which are continually developing and improving to meet changing needs.

Cross-College enabling technologies platforms support and strengthen our research in key areas including sequencing, mass spectrometry, whole organism and cell imaging, cell sorting and flow cytometry and NMR based metabolomics and structural biology. This is supplemented within the College by our protein expression, genome editing and intra-vital imaging facilities.

Our facilities include: 

  • Our research laboratories are accommodated across several buildings with a large concentration of these in the Institute of Biomedical Research complex where they are arranged to promote collaborative working 
  • Our state-of the-art Advanced Therapy Facility includes a purpose built HTA-compliant tissue biorepository (HBRC) and a cell and gene therapy pharmacy that is directly connected to our National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)/Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility
  • The £24m Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) is located adjacent to the University and QEHB. This investment (co-funded by the former Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and BHP) is an innovative development bringing together world class clinicians, scientists and clinical trials teams to accelerate access to new diagnostics, drugs and medical devices thereby enabling patients to benefit more rapidly from breakthrough therapies and technologies
  • The ITM incorporates the BHP Centre for Rare Diseases, the NIHR Trauma Healthcare Technology Co-operative and the Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre led by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, a new early-phase trials team and a commercial hub to host pharmaceutical companies and SMEs
    • The ITM provides excellent facilities for interaction between different specialities; informatics, the ARUK-MRC West Midlands stratified medicine facility, the Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes, biomarkers analysis, and clinical trials design all have a strong presence along with the NIHR Birmingham BRC, CRUK Birmingham Centre and the NIHR SRMRC
  • The Phenome Centre Birmingham is a large metabolic phenotyping facility led by internationally-recognised metabolomics and clinical experts at the University in collaboration with BHP. It has been established as part of a UK Stratified Medicine initiative led by the MRC to develop capacity and capability to perform large-scale metabolic phenotyping of the human population for stratified medicine.
    • The Centre, along with additional facilities, including the ITM laboratory, were funded through the University’s £7.2m MRC Enhancing UK's Clinical Research Capabilities and Technologies award and Wolfson, bringing technology and infrastructure to design and deliver novel precision medicine trials
  • BioHub Birmingham is co-located on campus within the Birmingham Research Park. This £6.8m facility offers fully serviced laboratory and office space for growing Life Sciences businesses. Just 500 metres from the ITM, it supports a growing portfolio of medical spin-out companies from the University and other local growing businesses
  • 2016 saw the opening of the new £50m Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry. The hospital and school, at Pebble Mill, is the first integrated, stand-alone dental hospital and dental school to be built in the UK for almost 40 years and provides a superb facility for dental research, teaching and practice 

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

The College of Life and Environmental Sciences is dedicated to exploring the diversity and evolutionary challenges of life in all its forms. 

Across the breadth of life and environmental sciences, we discover, apply and translate science, forging major advances in human and environmental health.  From exercise, biomedicine and mental health to climate change, food security and resilience we combine original thinking and real-world experience with clear focus and rigour. This is underpinned by our enabling technologies, which combine state-of-the-art equipment with expert staff.

Geography Building at University of BirminghamWe are home to one of the best stand-alone Schools of Psychology in the UK, as well as being ranked consistently in the top five in the world QS league table for Sport and Exercise Sciences.  Supported by a major gift from a philanthropist, we have developed the unique Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BiFoR), which is investigating the effect of rapid climate change on tree canopy development and pathogens.

  • The University of Birmingham was ranked in the top 100 universities by the QS World University Rankings 2019 for both Geography and Psychology
  • Biosciences - Over 90% of our research is rated as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) (REF 2014)
  • It was ranked the sixth best university in the world at which to study sports-related subjects by the QS World University Rankings 2019


World-leading research

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) the majority of our research was rated as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). Our world-leading multidisciplinary research areas include:

In recent years, the College has placed significant investment into key interdisciplinary initiatives including the Centre for Computational Biology and, recently, the Centre for Human Brain Health. Established in 2017, the Institute for Mental Health will largely focus on transforming NHS services from an evidence base of the highest quality research. These investments build on the College’s outstanding infrastructure and reputation for enabling technologies.