About the College

At the College of Medical and Dental Sciences we are shaping the future of health and medicine through the provision of innovative education and exceptional research, delivered by world-leading academics and supported by a diverse range of committed and high-performing Professional Services staff.

Birmingham Medical School in Autumn

The College consists of a diverse community of academic staff, research staff, health professionals and Professional Services staff working side-by-side and in collaboration with our NHS partners, including Birmingham Health Partners (BHP), an exciting collaborative platform between the University, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust, to improve the lives of patients locally, nationally and globally. 

Our location

The principal base of the College is part of the main campus of the University in Edgbaston, adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, and with a number of other key buildings both on and off campus, including the new Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry at Pebble Mill, just a mile from the central campus. Other NHS Trust partners are also on the same campus, including Birmingham Women's Hospital and the Barberry Hospital. 

Situated in the largest healthcare region in the country, with access to one of the largest and most diverse populations in Europe, the College is positioned to address major global issues and diseases affecting today’s society through our eight outstanding specialist Institutes. 

Our Institutes

Our Institutes are focused academic units in identified areas of high-performing research and teaching excellence, each with an ambitious strategy and empowered leadership. We draw together outstanding academic, clinical and Professional Services staff around coherent and highly collaborative themes.  

The Institutes are responsible for driving the further development and delivery of priority themes identified in the institutional Life Sciences Strategy and the College Strategic Framework. They are championing interdisciplinary collaboration across the University’s Colleges and in partnership with our regional NHS Trusts. Each Institute contributes to our translational pipeline, supporting fundamental research excellence through to clinical and applied health programmes.

This strategy ensures that our research delivers real impact in health and wealth generation and that our educational programmes are informed by our research strengths. Co-location and core focal points for each of the Institutes ensure cohesion, whilst at the same time promoting cross-Institute working and collaboration. 

This is further enabled through access to key College and/or cross-campus-managed facilities and resources and the provision of high quality professional services support including core academic, technical and specialist administration in support of teaching and research delivery.

Institute of Applied Health Research Our internationally leading experts help to tackle global societal challenges, from occupational health risks in the UK and Europe to childhood obesity in China. 
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences We make a unique and powerful contribution to understanding how genetic abnormalities within cancer cells lead to disease. We use this information to design and rigorously assess new and proven cancer treatments.
Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences We are world leaders in several areas of cardiovascular work, including research into the behaviour of platelets, white blood cells, atrial fibrillation and angiogenesis.
Institute of Clinical Sciences Co-ordinating all teaching and student engagement activity, the institute equips students with the skills to deliver outstanding healthcare and carry out life-changing medical research. This is informed by pedagogy and by research in the fields of dentistry, pharmacy and other clinical areas. 
Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy Birmingham has a very strong history of immunology research going back 50 years, and our large faculty of scientists and doctors are well positioned to make a world-leading contribution to understanding and treating immune- mediated disease.
Institute of Inflammation and Ageing From basic science to community exercise classes, we cover every aspect of research into and treatment of inflammation-driven illnesses and the role of inflammation in ageing.
Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research For many years we have led the global field in metabolism research, particularly in endocrinology. We are also at the forefront of systems-level studies of the human metabolome – how our bodies function at a more complex level.
Institute of Microbiology and Infection A joint initiative with the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, we have one of the largest groupings of microbiologists in the world and are at the vanguard of innovative research into combatting antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance.

Exceptional research

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.

Our overall research objective is to develop and promote excellence in basic and clinical science with an ultimate goal of delivering improvements in human health. We take pride in a truly translational pipeline, delivering cutting edge clinical trials and patient studies, underpinned by cell and molecular biology research on both model organisms and humans. 

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, Arthritis Research UK 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 100 universities worldwide for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy in 2017 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Ranking
  • It was ranked 76th by the QS World University Rankings 2017 for Life Sciences and Medicine, and Clinical Medicine at the University was ranked 87th in the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities 2016 (also known as the National Taiwan University Ranking). 

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.

Find out more about our research 

Outstanding education

Each year the College trains more than 370 medical students (increasing to over 400 from 2018-19), including a Graduate Entry cohort. Nearly one third of our medical students intercalate on a choice of programmes after the second, third or fourth year of their course. We also train 70 dental students, 20 biomedical materials science students, 150 biomedical science students, 125 nursing students, 70 pharmacy students and 60 physician associate students. Clinical teaching takes place at all hospitals in Birmingham and many of the hospitals across the region. 

From 2018, we will also be training the next generation of public health practitioners through our new UG Public Health programme. Clinical teaching takes place at all hospitals in Birmingham and many of the hospitals across the region.

There are also approximately 700 postgraduate taught students and 500 research students in the College, managed by a cross-College Graduate School. The College has excellent library and reference facilities, including the Barnes Library and the Doug Ellis Learning Hub, which complement the wider facilities available to students on campus. 

The Institute of Clinical Sciences provides a clear focus for integrating our education and training programmes, co-ordinating all teaching, student engagement and related activity across the College to deliver a high quality student experience. The Institute also supports increased recognition of the value of education and teaching contribution through an enhanced emphasis on pedagogy.

The Institute consists of a number of Schools dedicated to the delivery of research and education:

We are committed to providing students from all backgrounds with the opportunity to discover education and research in biomedical sciences and healthcare. We deliver a range of widening participation activities to bring students onto campus allowing them to explore what it is like to be a student at our University while giving them an insight into the courses they could study here and the pioneering research underpinning them. Almost 3,500 students have received support from our extensive widening participation activities over the last 10 years. Around 15% of our medicine intake is now from under represented backgrounds.

Our employability rates within the College are excellent, with some notable alumni in influential positions all around the world.  

Highlights from the 2017 National Student Survey included:

Professional Services

A diverse range of committed and high-performing Professional Services staff, managed through integrated College‐wide teams, underpin and provide support to the establishment, development and delivery of all aspects of the College’s activity. They support academic staff and students and provide core functions and support services in addition to delivering specialist technical services. The model of central management with localised focus and delivery provides flexible, high‐quality support according to academic need. The teams operate in close and effective partnership with colleagues across campus and in the NHS.

The University’s Academic Services and College Professional Services teams

Effective partnerships

Our partnership working with regional NHS Trusts is very strong, as exemplified by Birmingham Health Partners (BHP), an exciting collaborative platform between the University, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BWC). 

BHP has an outstanding healthcare infrastructure based on a campus that encompasses renowned hospitals, world-class multi-disciplinary research facilities, clinical and industry-focused space and a range of flagship national centres of excellence. Globally Birmingham is one of the few cities that can deliver such comprehensive co-located expertise. 

The co-location of the partners allows BHP to deliver an integrated approach to research and healthcare innovation; working together to shape the future of healthcare to benefit our communities and change lives. 

BHP will lead one of six new sites across the UK created to address challenging healthcare issues through use of data science, funded by £30 million from Health Data Research UK. The University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust will form part of the Midlands site, together with the Universities of Leicester, Nottingham and Warwick. 

The Advanced Therapies Facility, incorporating the Human Biomaterials Resource Centre (HBRC), works with a large number of NHS Trusts in the region and acts as the hub for collaborative initiatives such as the 100,000 Genomes Project West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre (WM GMC).

The WM GMC draws upon our unique population demographic through a collaboration of 18 NHS Trusts co-ordinated by our partnership with the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN). The WMAHSN brings together NHS commissioners, providers of NHS services, industry, academia and representatives of the people of the West Midlands to support the spread and adoption of innovation across the region. 

The Midlands & Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (MW-ATTC) is a recently formed health consortium jointly led by the National Institute for Health Research Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR Birmingham BRC) and NHS Wales. It has been awarded funding of almost £9 million to ensure more patients benefit from a new generation of breakthrough therapies. 

We also partner with many other Universities both in the UK and overseas on collaborative research projects and split site PhD opportunities. These collaborations maximise our research outputs, and provide PhD students with opportunities to broaden their knowledge and skills across multiple world leading institutions. Projects with international partners include a large number of Horizon 2020 awards and specialist strategic collaborations with partners including Universitas 21 universities and Sun Yat Sen University, China. 

The Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE; a collaboration with the University of Nottingham) will harness cutting-edge developments in Super Resolution Microscopy to enable researchers to visualise what happens when a drug or ligand binds to a cell surface receptor or protein in real-time. COMPARE will build on excellent and complementary basic science in both universities to deliver a unique capability for academic drug discovery. 

In addition to the NHS Trusts in our immediate vicinity, the College works closely with many of the teaching hospitals, clinical commissioning groups, and training practices across the West Midlands. Students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge and experience by working across a wide range of organisations and experiencing the varied cultures and demographics of the West Midlands. We have particularly strong research links with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust who host much of our clinical academic work in rheumatology, ophthalmology and cardiology. 

Our cross-campus collaborations within the University are vital, to share expertise and knowledge across disciplines, as well as facilities, equipment and resources. We have strong relationships with all other University Colleges, most notably with the College of Life and Environmental Sciences in connection with the Life Sciences Strategy as outlined above.

Other strong links are with the Business School, within the College of Social Sciences for education delivery, and with the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences for both teaching and research activity where programmes in biomaterials, regenerative medicine and biomathematics are particularly exciting. We are also looking to forge stronger links with the College of Arts and Law in areas that include medicolegal and medical ethics and the use or the arts to engage and treat patients. 

Life Sciences Strategy

The University's Life Sciences Strategy (LSS) was developed following detailed engagement both internally and externally. The LSS identifies priorities in areas relevant to human health for the University as an outstanding, distinctive centre for Life Sciences research and education, including clinical and biomedical sciences and human biology. 

The LSS is focused on building multidisciplinary research and teaching activities across the whole campus. It will help to deliver the region’s ambition to establish Birmingham as one of the UK’s pre-eminent locations for the Life Sciences sector delivering improved healthcare, economic growth and making the UK the best place to invest in life sciences research. 

Integral to the delivery of the LSS is Birmingham Health Partners, a strategic alliance between the University and two major NHS hospital trusts; the Shelford Group member University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BWC). BHP’s mission is to harness research strengths in the University and NHS to deliver better treatments and care to patients.

The College is taking a leading role in development of an initiative to establish the Birmingham Life Science Park (BLSP) adjacent to the University. BLSP will harness our academic and clinical strengths with commercial partners to accelerate innovation and shorten the time for new healthcare technologies to be taken from the early stages of concept to real life application for improved patient care. The site will include state-of-the-art research laboratories and commercial facilities for new and existing partners to come together, helping reinforce the city’s reputation as a leader in this field. 

Find out more about Life Sciences at Birmingham

World class facilities

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.

The University continues to invest in resources and research facilities to ensure that our academic staff and researchers are able to pursue their research and educational ideas in an outstanding and facilitatory environment. 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: 

  • Teaching facilities within the Medical School building include the 450 seat Leonard Deacon lecture theatre and the 398 seat Arthur Thompson Hall, dedicated practical teaching spaces for pharmacy, anatomy and clinical skills, and a prosectorium incorporating 10 ventilated tables and high tech AV teaching aids
  • The MedCafé and Wolfson Common Room provide our students, staff and visitors ample space to interact in a less formal environment while still providing facilities to promote group working
  • 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 (ATF) 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 (CRF)
  • 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 (HTC) and the Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC) 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 

Equality and diversity

Promoting equality and diversity is at the heart of the College’s strategic vision and an issue that the College Board takes very seriously. The newly-formed equality and diversity leadership team will help drive and embed behavioural and cultural change at the University. 

They will do this through promoting staff and student diversity activities, signposting staff and students to appropriate policies and services, exploring equality related barriers that may hinder any member of staff or student being successful, providing scrutiny for policy and strategy development and implementation, and providing an advocacy role as and when required for implementation of policy and delivery of plans. 

AS_RGB_Silver-Award

The College was awarded an Athena SWAN Silver Award in April 2014 in recognition of progress made in furthering the recruitment, retention and progression of female academic staff, and was awarded Bronze in October 2018. The College has delivered a comprehensive and innovative range of activities, refreshed and changed policies and taken practical steps to improve the working environment. 

The College is piloting provision of technical support for clinical trainees during maternity leave. A fund is also available to help with childcare costs during conferences and a budget is set aside annually to fund SWAN events. Staff can access a range of leadership opportunities and are offered grant workshops and fellowship interview practice. Events and developments are listed online.

Watch the College's Athena SWAN video to find out how SWAN activities can help colleagues in the College.