Research Department for Medical Education

About

RDME logo

RDME is the research department within UCL Medical School, part of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UCL. Launched in June 2016, RDME replaces the Academic Centre for Medical Education (ACME).

We are an interdisciplinary department of clinicians, psychologists, linguists, philosophers, and educationalists. We are recognised nationally and internationally for our high standards of innovation and development in medical education research, especially in the area of assessment (see Research Themes).

RDME aims to:  

  • Make a substantial contribution to medical education research nationally and internationally;
  • Work with medical regulators, healthcare providers, healthcare education providers, patients and the public, to ensure medical education research has real-world impact;
  • Provide high quality medical education research teaching and training for doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers;
  • Generate income through research and consultancy.

Ensuring our research makes a difference is a key part of our ethos and research strategy. Our work on selection, postgraduate clinical assessment, widening participation, revalidation, and differential attainment and equality, has had significant impact outside of academia, and our impact case studies were highly rated in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Our award-winning public engagement projects ensure our work is informed by, and useful to patients and the public.

We help medical educators adopt evidence-based best educational practice, and use our knowledge and experience to continually develop our undergraduate and postgraduate education programmes, and work to aid development in other institutions through the Medical School Educational Consultancy.

Research

RDME is one of the UK’s top medical education research departments. We were the only department to submit under Medical Education in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. Our academic and research staff are from a variety of backgrounds (education, social science, psychology, philosophy and medical ethics, as well as clinical specialties) and contribute to our interdisciplinary educational research activities. Our research outputs and reputation are of national and international importance, particularly in the key area of assessment.

Research themes

Assessment in medical education:

  • Selection
  • Doctors’ fitness to practise
  • Equality and diversity (including differential attainment)
  • Revalidation

Work-based learning:

  • Transitions in clinical education
  • Professional identity and expertise
  • Communication skills

Education methodologies:

  • E-learning
  • Peer-assisted learning
  • Student support

Research groups

Research methodologies

Our staff have expertise in both qualitative methodologies (narrative analysis, interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), linguistics, critical realist approaches, thematic and textual analysis and ethnography) and quantitative methods (psychometrics including item response theory and generalisability theory, meta-analysis, multi-level modelling, path modelling, and social network analysis). 

Collaborations

RDME has collaborative links with many other academic departments and institutions. Within UCL these include the Centre for Health Informatics and Multi-professional Education (CHIME), the Eastman Dental Institute, UCL Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, and the Institute of Education. A new cross-SLMS organisation, the Senior Educators Research Collaboration, has been formed with the key goal of bringing clinical education to the foreground of research in life and medical sciences.

RDME works with other UK medical schools and in particular the London Medical Education Research Network with Imperial College School of Medicine, Bart’s and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry (Queen Mary, University of London), Guys, St Thomas’ and Kings and St Georges. UCLMS is part of the London Best Evidence in Medical Education (BEME) International Collaborating Centre supporting the expansion of high quality systematic reviews in medical education http://beme.org.uk/

Research impact

Ensuring our research makes a difference is a key part of our ethos and research strategy. Our work on selection, postgraduate clinical assessment, widening participation, revalidation, and differential attainment and equality, has had significant impact outside of academia, and our impact case studies were highly rated in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Our award-winning public engagement projects ensure our work is informed by, and useful to patients and the public.

Funding

Our research is funded by a range of local and national sponsors including Arthritis Research UK, the British Academy, Cancer Research UK, the General Medical Council, the Department of Health, NHS England, The Royal College of Physicians, and Health Education England, and various UCL Development Grants.

Study

Crucial to our mission is developing and mentoring a wider research community, including supervising research undertaken for postgraduate degrees, running conferences and seminars, and supporting clinical teaching fellows.

Doctoral students

Funding for our current and previous doctoral students has come from UCL Impact Studentships, NIHR, Arthritis Research Council, and Cancer Research UK. More information about funding and scholarships for doctoral research at UCL can be found on the UCL Graduate School website.