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.  

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.

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 the 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 Research Councils UK, medical research charities, such as the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, Bloodwise, Arthritis Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, as well as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the European Union.

This is together with 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, and the Office for Life Sciences) and industrial partners including large pharmaceutical companies (e.g. GSK, Roche) and SMEs (e.g. Vital Therapies). 

With an average field weighted citation impact of 2.10 for medical and dental sciences our research is truly world leading, and over 20% 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 University of Birmingham was ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy in 2016 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Ranking
  • Clinical Medicine at the University of Birmingham was ranked 94th in the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities 2016, also known as the National Taiwan University Ranking 

Find out more about our research 

Outstanding education

Each year the College trains more than 370 medical students, 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. 

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. The University is also proud to have been awarded the University of the Year for Graduate Employment in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015-16. 

Highlights from the 2017 National Student Survey included:

  • 100% of our Biomedical Materials Sciences BMedSc students were satisfied with the quality of the course
  • 95.6% of our Pharmacy MPharm students said they were satisfied with the teaching on the course
  • 94% of our Medicine and Surgery MBChB students said they were satisfied with the quality of the course

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 partnerships with regional NHS Trusts are very strong, as exemplified by 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.

BHP enables the rapid translation of laboratory discovery to patient benefit, fostering new therapeutic and healthcare innovations by creating an integrated environment for researchers and clinicians. It co-funds and manages the recently opened Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) and has delivered the largest single renewal grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) of £12.8m in 2016 for the Birmingham NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (NIHR-WT CRF). This includes a paediatric facility at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, a satellite facility in the Centre for Translational Inflammation Research (CTIR; located within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham) and gene and cell therapy programmes within our Advanced Therapy Facility (ATF).

The ATF incorporates the Human Biomaterials Resource Centre (HBRC), which 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 (WM AHSN). The WM AHSN 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. 

We also partner with many other Universities, both in the UK and overseas, on collaborative research projects and, more recently, split site PhD opportunities. These partnerships 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 more specialist strategic collaborations, such as Universitas 21 and Sun Yat Sen University, China. The COMPARE project will augment our position as a research powerhouse for academic drug discovery. It will harness cutting-edge developments in Super Resolution Microscopy that will enable researchers to visualise what happens when a drug binds to a cell surface receptor or protein in real-time.

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 Medical Research Council (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. 

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. 

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. 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. 

Life Sciences Strategy

The University's Life Sciences Strategy (LSS) has been developed following detailed engagement both internally and externally. The LSS identifies the priorities for the University as an outstanding, distinctive centre for Life Sciences research and education focused on areas relevant to human health 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.

The College is taking a leading role in development of an initiative to establish the Birmingham Life Science Park adjacent to the University. The Birmingham Life Sciences Park 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. 

Our outstanding facilities and strong ethos of partnership working, combined with multi-disciplinary academic excellence across the University and a diverse regional population of over five million mean that Birmingham is ideally placed to occupy a world-leading position in the rapidly evolving Life Sciences sector. 

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. These include:

  • The £35m Institute of Biomedical Research, the £11.8m Wolfson Centre for Medical Education and a prosectorium facility for anatomy teaching incorporating 10 ventilated tables and high tech AV teaching aids
  • State-of the-art Advanced Therapy Facility (ATF) that includes a purpose built HTA-compliant tissue biorepository 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 Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) 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 
  • 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