College of Medicine

Leading
Discoveries
A snapshot of our success from the
Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

www.medicine.swansea.ac.uk

Welcome
The College of Medicine is delighted to
announce the results from the Research
Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014.
Published on Thursday 18th December
2014, the results of REF 2014 demonstrate
a spectacular performance for the College
of Medicine, rounding off a fantastic year of
celebration in its 10th Anniversary Year. The
College of Medicine’s achievements include:
• 100% 4** star for research environment,
ranking it joint 1st in the UK
• 100% 3* and 4** star for impact
case studies
• 92% 3* and 4** star for research outputs
• 95% 3* and 4** star for research overall
• 54% of research overall is 4** star
• Ranked 2nd in the UK in its Unit of
Assessment
• Overall, Swansea University has climbed
from 52nd place in the UK in 2008 to 26th
in 2014 - this is the largest climb up the
rankings of any research-intensive University
in the UK.
Equipping tomorrow’s doctors and life scientists
with the necessary skills and experience to
address the major healthcare challenges
faced globally is at the heart of every activity
undertaken at the College of Medicine.
This not only requires continual improvement
in teaching and learning by combining a
distinctive interdisciplinary approach, close
collaboration with industry and placing an
emphasis on innovation through technology
and research excellence; it necessitates

taking an active role in shaping the region’s
knowledge economy.
Over the past 10 years, this holistic approach
has resulted in significant successes.
From the creation of the Graduate Entry
Medicine (GEM) programme in 2004, opening
of the Institute of Life Science phase one (ILS1)
in 2007 and phase two (ILS2) and the Centre
for NanoHealth in 2011, to earning the right
to award Primary Medical Qualifications
(PMQ) independent of any other institution
in 2014; the College of Medicine is now
acknowledged as one of the fastest growing
medical schools in the UK.
Over the next 10 years the College’s plans
are equally ambitious. As well as its continued
investment in the development of the Singleton
campus, the College of Medicine will be
creating a cutting-edge Medi-Park in addition
to the MRC Centre for Bioinformatics housed
in ILS1 and the Data Science Building, which
will open in 2015 as a world-class centre in
administrative data and eHealth research.
The following pages highlight just some of
the world-leading impact that the College’s
research is already having.

Professor Keith Lloyd, Dean
and Head of the College of
Medicine, Swansea University

* 3 star recognises quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
** 4 star recognises to quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

2004

The Clinical School
develops into a
School of Medicine

2006

IBM’s Blue C
Supercomputer is given
a permanent home at
Swansea University

CASE STUDY 1

Improved efficiency and quality
of care for patients with
gastrointestinal disorders
SUMMARY:
Open access to hospital services for
patients with inflammatory bowel disease
and increased responsibility for nurses particularly as endoscopists, are proving
both clinically and cost effective according
to researchers at the College of Medicine,
Swansea University.

• The UK-wide, multi-centre study, MINuET,
in 2002-2003 showed that outcomes
following an endoscopy by nurses were
the same as those by doctors; however
nurses were significantly more thorough
in examining the oesophagus and
stomach and in record-keeping; and
patients were more satisfied overall.

MORE…

• A systematic review published in 2006
of the burden of gastroenterological
disease in the UK and the evidence
for optimal service delivery in
gastroenterology identified many
observational studies that supported
nurses working in specialist roles,
especially endoscopy.

The research carried out between 1996
and 2013, under the leadership of
Professor John Williams looked at service
initiatives and the impact that changing
professional roles associated with the
management of patients with debilitating
gastrointestinal disorders would have on
patient care.
MAIN FINDINGS:
• The study of an open-access system of
follow-up resulted in significantly fewer
out-patient visits (mean of 4.12 versus
4.64 over 2 years) at less cost (£582
versus £611) than routinely booked
appointments.

2007

ILS1 opens its doors for
business with the Boots
Centre for Innovation

IMPACT:
The research has informed national policy
and has been incorporated in NHS
strategies, professional service standards
and commissioning guides; improved
service delivery through the provision of
increasing numbers of nurse endoscopists
and the wide introduction of nurse-led open
access systems; and improved patient care.

2008

The School of Medicine
enjoys remarkable results
as part of the RAE 2008

CASE STUDY 2

Improving the content and quality
of patient records
SUMMARY:
Data quality within the NHS can be
improved by standardising the structure
and content of records, and engaging
clinicians in the process of data extraction,
coding and validation.
MORE…
Research conducted by the College of
Medicine between 2000 and 2011, under
the leadership of Professor John Williams
found significant variations in the structure
and content of records across the NHS,
which limited both quality and utility.
MAIN FINDINGS:
• The research confirmed the need for
national standards for the structure and
content of records.

IMPACT:
The research led to the development of
evidence-based national standards for the
structure and content of patient records.
The standards have been endorsed by
numerous statutory bodies and professional
organisations, including the Academy of
Medical Royal Colleges, Department of
Health and General Medical Council.
Additional standards based on evidence
and consensus for clinical incident
reporting, endoscopy reports and patientfocused summaries are underway.
The NHS England Framework for Action
has now recommended these standards for
use throughout the NHS.

• The research further showed better data
collection was needed to monitor quality
of care through national audits.

2009

Swansea and Bro Morgannwg NHS Trusts combine
and are granted University Hospital status to become
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board
(ABMU Health Board)

CASE STUDY 3

Reducing the pressure on
A&E departments
SUMMARY:
Collaboration between researchers at the
College of Medicine, clinicians, policy
makers and academics, has reduced
unnecessary attendance at Accident and
Emergency Departments (A&E) and costs
without compromising patient experience,
safety or quality of care.
MORE…
Professor Helen Snooks’ evidence that
telephone advice, decision support and
referral pathways are safe and effective
has resulted in widespread international
take out of models of these models of
care. Between 2000 and 2014, Snooks
and colleagues at Swansea University
have undertaken a programme of applied
research in collaboration with ambulance
service providers, policy makers and
academics to identify safe and costeffective alternatives to ambulance dispatch
and conveyance to A&E Departments.

MAIN FINDINGS:
• Professor Helen Snooks’ 2002 study
found that 40% of calls to emergency
health services world-wide did not need
an emergency ambulance.

2009

• Observational studies (2003-2006)
illustrated poor outcomes for older fallers
following ambulance visits.
• Evaluations of alternatives to A&E
transportation (2000-2013) that enable
paramedics to leave patients at home
showed opportunities to use advanced
paramedics skills and ‘Treat and Refer’
protocols to refer patients to alternative
non-emergency services.
• Evaluations of alternatives to ambulance
despatch on initial telephone contact
showed the safety of telephone
assessment and advice for patients
triaged as non-serious and reduced
despatch rates (2000-2006).

IMPACT:
The research is informing alternatives to
the default ‘lights and siren’ response
followed by conveyance to A&E, reducing
unnecessary hospital attendance and
freeing resources for those with urgent
needs. In England, for example, emergency
calls not leading to hospital transport rose
from 480,000 in 2001(10%) to 4.1 million
in 2013 (45%) with savings from avoided
ambulance journeys of £60 million.

Swansea University partners with the
NHS to secure significant funding
for a second phase of the ILS

The Schools of Medicine and
Engineering collaborate to develop
the Centre for NanoHealth, a joint
initiative worth £21 million

CASE STUDY 4

Cancer risk threats from drugs
demystified
SUMMARY:
Researchers from the College of Medicine
have found that exposure to low-levels of
genotoxins from anti-viral drugs such as
Viracept® did not pose significant risks to
DNA.
MORE…
The work on genotoxicity thresholds led by
Professor Gareth Jenkins reassured 25,000
HIV-infected individuals, who had taken
Viracept® contaminated with the genotoxin
ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS).

IMPACT:
In July 2008 the European Medicines
Agency accepted that cancer-risk was
not increased for patients who received
Viracept® tablets contaminated with
a low dose of the genotoxin ethyl
methanesulfonate (EMS).
These findings have had broad
international reach and have now been
incorporated into regulatory guidelines.

MAIN FINDINGS:
• The researchers provided the first data to
prove that genotoxicity thresholds for
drugs exist.
• Work carried out between 2001 and
2006 demonstrated for the first time that
two of the four alkylating agents had
thresholds for both chromosome and
DNA base mutation. This data resulted
in a paradigm shift in July 2008: the
acceptance of genotoxicity thresholds
and the concept of safe exposure levels
to some genotoxic drugs by the scientific
community as a whole.

2009

The first cohort of students begins
studying on the Graduate Entry
Medicine (GEM) programme
entirely at Swansea University

2010

BEACON project begins,
a collaboration between
Aberystwyth, Bangor and
Swansea Universities dedicated
to harnessing the power of
plants in medicine, science and
manufacturing

CASE STUDY 5

Light theraphy for skin conditions
SUMMARY:
Research at the College of Medicine
on light therapy has contributed to an
extensive market in laser and intense
pulsed light (IPL) products for the
therapeutic and cosmetic treatment of skin
conditions.
MORE…
These insights have made light therapy
feasible through clinical and home-use
systems, which have been developed on
the basis of the estimated light parameters
published by Professor Marc Clement.
MAIN FINDINGS:
• Research undertaken since 2000 has
contributed to the development of
light-tissue science and treatments for
many debilitating and distressing skin
conditions including acne, aging or sundamaged skin, hirsutism, wound healing,
pigment disorders, and cellulite or stretch
marks.

2010

Graduate Entry Medicine
students achieve 100%
pass rate

• A subsequent programme of computerbased predictive modelling from 2002
led to the characterisation of optical
light parameters including wavelength,
energy, and temporal and spatial
profiles. This modelling was essential as
specific wavelengths penetrate the skin
differentially and target discrete structures
to produce the desired effect.
IMPACT:
The research has resulted in globally
registered intellectual property; local
manufacturing of a wide range of laser
and IPL products; their distribution to over
40 countries; and resulting benefits to
health in treating acne, rejuvenating skin
and removing hair.
The research undertaken by the College
of Medicine and Swansea University’s
companies pioneered this market in
partnership with Procter & Gamble and
Unilever; and established a joint venture
with Sony UK to manufacture these laser
and IPL products in South Wales.

2011

The School of Medicine
becomes the College of
Medicine

Business, Innovation
and Research
The Institute of Life Science acts as the
research and innovation arm of the College
of Medicine at Swansea University and is
the result of a collaboration between Welsh
Government, Swansea University, the
NHS through ABMU Health Board, IBM,
Siemens and numerous other organisations.
It consists of two modern research buildings
(ILS1 and ILS2) representing investment of
over £100 million including equipment. A
third building, the Data Science Building,
is currently under construction to enrich the
offering at Swansea University.
The ILS has outstanding laboratory and
clinical research facilities as well as a
Clinical Research Facility incorporating
jointly-located clinical trials and medical
imaging suites.
The College also offers dedicated research
space for commercial partners at ILS.
This is available upon application and is

2011

ILS2 and the Centre
for NanoHealth open
for business

offered on a licence basis. Other specialist
environments, including cleanroom
facilities and a dedicated medical devices
laboratory, are also available on-site.
The ILS engages in a number of research
collaborations with partners ranging from
global pharmaceutical companies through
to local medical devices start-ups. Through
its team of research active personnel, the
College of Medicine provides scientific
and innovation support to companies at
all stages of technical and commercial
development.
To date, the ILS has facilitated the creation
of 39 new companies and collectively
is home to hundreds of professional
specialists in medical research, business
incubation, technology transfer and 14
tenant companies across the two buildings
working in fields ranging from stem cell
therapies through to micro-needle and
telehealth applications.

2014

The GMC gives Swansea University
the right to award Primary Medical
Qualifications independent of any
other institution

Research Environment
The College of Medicine is one of the
top performers in the UK for its research
environment according to the new Research
Excellence Framework (REF) used to assess
the research quality at UK higher education
institutions.

recognised by a new £8 million award to host
the Centre for Administrative Data Research
and Evaluation (CADRE), part of the ESRC Big
Data Network.

As well as ranking joint first in the UK for its
research environment, the College of Medicine
is placed 2nd out of 94 in the UK within its unit
of assessment.
Within the College, research efforts are housed
in the Institute of Life Science (ILS). Together
ILS1 and ILS2 provide over 12,000m2 of
interdisciplinary research facilities to support
the EPSRC National Mass Spectrometry Facility;
the Centre for NanoHealth and a UK Centre of
Excellence in eHealth and Informatics (CIPHER).
CIPHER is one of four major centres that
comprise the new UK Farr Institute for Health
Informatics, recently awarded more than £9
million through an MRC-led funding consortium.
Pioneering work on informatics has been further

2014

140 Postgraduate
students engaged in
Taught Masters and
Research Programmes

The College’s interaction with both clinical
and commercial innovation begins on-site. The
ILS opens directly onto one of the two major
hospitals in Swansea, helping it to maintain
very strong links with the NHS. Crucially, both
ILS buildings have 25% priority incubation
space for product and technology development.
Hence clinical and commercial enterprises
are all located within the heart of ILS, which
continues to mature and build on its early
successes.

10th anniversary of the
first students who started
on the Swansea-Cardiff
four year GEP in Medicine

First cohort of medical
students who have spent
all four years at Swansea
University qualify as doctors

Medi-Park
This is an integrated proposal for research,
skills and business development to be created
in collaboration with Welsh Government, the
NHS and industry.
Building on the solid foundations created by
ILS1 and ILS2, the proposed Medi-Park will
comprise of:
• enhanced capacity and capability for
business location, together with support for
medical regulation navigation and market
development
• a healthcare technology centre which
will co-locate and expand the centres of
excellence to build STEM research capacity
• the Bevan Centre for Health Leadership
and Innovation which will support the
identification, appraisal and development of
healthcare innovation in support of prudent
effective service delivery
• the development of a joint clinical
research facility aimed at expanding and
providing additional capabilities of the
current clinical trials facility in partnership
with ABMU Health Board

• an integrated life sciences and
healthcare skills development environment
developed in partnership with the College
of Human and Health Science and Gower
College
• a high-quality life science-focused hotel
and conference centre which will compliment
existing and new ILS facilities
By 2020, the Medi-Park aims to create around
300+ new, high added-value jobs, secure
in excess of £25 million in new competitive
research investment and create an expected 10
new enterprises.

Celebrating Success
The rapid rate of growth in the number of
Postgraduate students choosing to study
in the College of Medicine at Swansea
is commensurate with the College’s status
as the ‘UK’s fastest growing Medical
School’. This growth is exemplified by
the infrastructure development with ILS1
(2007), ILS2 and CNH (2011) and the
Data Sciences building (2015).
For example, in 2014 there were 162
postgraduate research students in the
College, compared to less than 40 in 2005
and less than 20 in 2002.
These students work in vibrant research
thematic areas with research organised
into four ‘bright spots’ or core themes
including: Biomarkers and Genes, Devices,
Microbes and Immunity; and Patients and
Population Health and Informatics.
The College of Medicine is committed
to training students in innovative health
and life sciences research and offers
outstanding postgraduate opportunities
in medical training under its fast track
graduate-entry programme.

In providing exemplary learning and
teaching, the College of Medicine brings
together a highly-regarded undergraduate
programme in Genetics, Medical Genetics,
Medical Biochemistry and a world-class
Postgraduate facility comprising taught
Masters and Research degrees in areas
significant to the advancement of medicine
on a global scale.
Research Programmes:
The College of Medicine invites
applications for research degrees (PhD,
MD, MPhil, Masters by Research and
MRes) from well-qualified candidates
whose research interests correspond to the
following expert-led research themes:
• Biomarkers and Genes
• Devices
• Microbes and Immunity
• Patients and Population Health
and Informatics

Masters of Research (MRes) programmes:
• Education for the Health Professions
MRes/DProf
• Life Science and Healthcare Enterprise
MRes

• Life Science and Healthcare Enterprise
with Medical Manufacturing MSc/
PGDip*
• Life Science and Healthcare Enterprise
with Medical Technology MSc/PGDip*

• Medicine and Life Sciences MRes

• Life Science and Healthcare Enterprise
with Reconstructive and Regenerative
Medicine MSc/PGDip*

Taught Masters programmes:

• Medical Radiation Physics MSc

• Applied Analytical Science MSc/PGDip

• Nanomedicine MSc/PGDip/PGCert

• Applied Liquid Chromatography Mass
Spectrometry (LCMS) PGCert

• Trauma Surgery MSc/PGDip

• Autism and Related Conditions MSc/
PGDip/PGCert
• Clinical Science (Medical Physics) MSc
• Health Data Science MSc/PGDip/
PGCert
• Health Informatics MSc/PGDip/PGCert
• Leadership for the Health Professions
MSc/PGDip/PGCert
• Life Science and Healthcare Enterprise
with Healthcare Services Management
MSc/PGDip*
• Life Science and Healthcare Enterprise
with Informatics MSc/PGDip*

• Trauma Surgery (Military) MSc/PGDip
*subject to validation