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Message from the Dean

29 Oct 2018

Latest news from Peter Clayton

Professor Peter Clayton

The University’s  Annual Performance Review (APR) process concluded earlier this week, which gives the FLT  the opportunity to discuss the Faculty’s performance over the last 12 months with the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), and to identify and prioritise areas for improvement for the academic year ahead.  I’d now like to share some of the high level APR outputs with you.

In terms of our successes 2017-18 , there were some notable achievements of which we can all be justifiably proud. With regard to Teaching and Learning, much progress has been made in delivering an effective and transparent teaching contribution system;  and the Academy for Education and Professional development continues to design and deliver a staff development programme , ensuring we deliver the best possible learning experience  for our students.  Within Research we saw a number of successful  applications for funding, some of the larger bids including £5.9m from the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre; £2.6m from the NIHR Older People and Frailty Policy Research Unit; and £2m from Arthritis UK.  We also made good progress with REF and Impact, with the percentage of colleagues with at least one 3* or a 4* paper increasing from the previous year.

It was encouraging to see that  most of our major research bids had strong elements of patient and public engagement  – an important strand of our Social Responsibility agenda.  In this area too there were a number of successes, not least the recent award of Athena SWAN silver accreditation to each of our three Schools and  individual and team achievements in the University’s  Making a Difference, Volunteer of the Year and Global Challenge award schemes.

Notable individual successes included Professor Marais’s election to a Fellowship of the Royal Society; Professor Vestbo’s election to a Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences; Professor Tabernero’s award of the Lord Alliance prize for her research in breast cancer; and Professor Bowsher’s award of a National Teaching Fellowship.

The APR also highlighted the considerable financial challenges we faced  and these will continue for a number of years as we continue to seek additional financial headroom for more strategic investment in new Research and Teaching and Learning developments. Going forward, we also need to consider the potential impact of the findings of Phillip Augar’s Government Report on the funding of post-18 education, which may lead to a reduction in student tuition fees.

Other focus areas for 2018-19 will include preparations for the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF) and Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) submissions; the National Student Survey; implementing the outputs of the ‘Our Future Vision’ engagement process ; and with our strategic partners, realising the true benefits of the devolved health and social care budget in Manchester.

I will be providing more detailed information on the APR at the Faculty Town Hall event, which is taking place next Wednesday 31 October. The meeting will also include updates on Research, Teaching and Learning and Social Responsibility, and of course it is a great opportunity for you to raise any issues or concerns with the FLT.  I would encourage you to attend if you possibly can and ask you to reserve your place by registering HERE.

The last of the Faculty-run ‘Our Future Vision’ engagement events will take place on Monday  at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s Wythenshawe Hospital . We will have held eight meetings throughout October, attracting a total of 189 members of staff, and I’d like to thank all those who have taken part. Kay Marshall be exploring some of the emerging themes and big ideas and explaining how these will feed into the strategic planning process at next week’s Town Hall.

Along with a number of Faculty colleagues, last week I attended the first Senate meeting of the academic year, where we discussed the National Student Survey and recent research achievements. Senate is the principal academic body of the University, responsible for the promotion of research  and for the regulation of the education and discipline of our students .  As such, it is really important that everyone has a clear  understanding of how Senate works, and I would like to suggest everyone reads more about its membership and governance HERE.

I also attended the Professorial Inaugural Lectures of Georges Lacaud and Angeliki Malliri, at a very impressive venue at Alderley Park, the interim home for our colleagues in CRUK MI and the Division of Cancer Sciences formerly based in the Paterson Building. The inaugural lectures are not only a celebration of individual academic achievement, but also a great networking opportunity for colleagues from across the Faculty – and week was no exception.

Earlier this week I attended the Presidential Meeting of the Manchester Medical Society (MMS) at the Whitworth Art Gallery. This was an extremely thought-provoking event that explored the relationship between the arts, medicine and science. This is a theme the Faculty has explored before. You may remember last year’s visit by theatre group Clod Ensemble  who delivered a bespoke training programme entitled The Art of Healthcare for our medical and healthcare students; and only this week, US-based performing arts group The Story Collider is running a workshop for academic and early-career researchers.  The  MMS event featured presentations by President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell and Chris Griffiths, Professor of Dermatology based in the Division of Musculoskeletal and Dermatological Sciences, who is also MMS President.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate the team headed by Professor Tracey Hussell and Dr Fiona Foster, who are respectively Director and Manager of the Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation, for delivering a very impressive launch event for the new Insitute last week at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Funded by the University of Manchester Research Institute (UMRI) the Lydia Becker brings together expertise from across the Faculty to investigate all aspects of immunology and inflammation, now recognised as key components of most major diseases.  Instead of undertaking individual disease diagnosis and treatment, the new Institute offers a unique approach to research by tackling combinations of long-term conditions and diseases, and in doing so will deliver true translational benefits, from basic science through to patient care. You can read more HERE in an on-line version of the brochure produced for the launch event.

In closing, I’d like to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the ‘Our Future Vision’ events, and once again encourage as many people as possible to attend the Faculty Town Hall next week.  These are key events for the Faculty Leadership Team  to hear  your thoughts, ideas, issues and concerns and act on your feedback.

I look forward to meeting you at next week’s Town Hall.

Peter Clayton

Interim Vice-President and Dean