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Dean's update - 10 November

10 Nov 2017

Latest news from Ian Greer

Ian Greer

The Faculty Leadership team attended the University’s Annual Performance Review this week during which we reflected on our first year of operation and highlighted a range of significant successes. The achievements in FBMH are, from my perspective as Dean, remarkable. This is a direct reflection of the commitment, cohesion and skill of Faculty leaders and an outstanding performance from our academic and Professional Support Services staff, where strong team-working and partnership is fundamental to the success of the Faculty.  I would therefore like to set out my appreciation and sincere thanks to all colleagues for delivering the many achievements in FBMH. I am immensely proud of the achievements of the Faculty.

One of the issues we discussed was our recognition that to address today’s major research challenges, an integrated approach that goes beyond a single discipline or even a single Faculty is required.  One priority for the coming year will be to further develop cross-Faculty initiatives such as the Pankhurst centre, which will bring together scientists from FSE and FBMH to deliver major advances in Computer Science and e‐Health, and Materials Science and Medicine. There is also the potential to develop an institute across Humanities and FBMH to address challenges in health services, research and health, and social policy.

We also talked about a number of pressures over the last 12 months, including the review of teaching, improving distribution of workload, and financial stability. And we, of course, discussed the challenges of the M2020 staffing changes and their impact on staff morale. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone once again for their patience and professionalism throughout the extended M2020 consultation period, and wish those colleagues who have decided to take advantage of the Voluntary Severance scheme well in their future endeavours.  Post M2020 we still have much to achieve, not least improving employee morale which has undoubtedly suffered during the period of uncertainty.

I’m sure you’ll agree that it is good news to see the University ranked eighth in the UK and 54th in the world in the Times Higher Education 2018 university world rankings.  This year there are two new subject categories relevant to FBMH - Life Sciences in which we are ranked 8th in the UK and 51st in the world, and Clinical, Pre-Clinical & Health where we are ranked 7th in the UK and 45th in the world.

Last week it was a privilege to meet with a delegation of visitors from Gulu University in Uganda at an event hosted by Mahesh Nirmalan, Vice-Dean for Social Responsibility. We signed two MoU’s - the first relating to joint research into post-conflict disability in Uganda and Sri Lanka, and the second to develop a closer research, training and education partnership with the University.

This week, the University President and Vice-Chancellor, Dame Nancy Rothwell, and I met Sir Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, a major supporter of our research on cancer. We discussed the relocation of our staff to Alderley Park after the fire at the Paterson Building and plans for redeveloping the building.

We also launched a new partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) that will see the organisation deliver training in our Surgical Skills Centre in the Stopford Building.  The RCS provides educational and practical workshops for surgeons and other medical professionals at all stages of their careers and this new endeavour will make the University the RCS’s ‘hub in the North and Midlands’. The role that the Royal Colleges play in benefiting patients and healthcare is immeasurable and we are honoured that the RCS has chosen to partner with us.

I’m looking forward to welcoming more overseas visitors next Monday, when the Vice-President of Shanghai Jiao-Tong University (SJTU) School of Medicine – one of the most prestigious and selective universities in China, will be visiting the Faculty. We have recently signed a £1.5 million contract with the SJTU to provide CPD training to a cohort of 25 senior nurses each year for the next five years; and this will be followed by PGT or PhD programmes, also sponsored by SJTU.