UCL News


UCL Partners is one of UK's first Academic Health Science Centres

9 March 2009


Excellence in medical research uclpartners.com/" target="_self">UCL Partners

UCL Partners (UCLP) has today been designated as one of the UK's first academic health science centres (AHSC), strengthening UCL's position as Europe's leading health research powerhouse.

The Partnership is one of just five bids which satisfied the Department of Health's rigorous selection process, demonstrating that it possessed excellence in research, education and patient care.

UCLP is UCL's partnership with four of London's biggest and best known hospitals and research centres: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust (GOSH); Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust;  and UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The Partnership will bring together the combined skill and expertise of its clinicians and researchers to focus initially on seven areas:

  • infectious diseases
  • neurological disorders
  • eyes and vision
  • cardiovascular
  • child health
  • women's health
  • immunology and transplantation.

Commenting on the award of AHSC status, Sir Cyril Chantler, Chairman of UCL Partners, said: "This is fantastic news, and a great tribute to the skill, expertise and team work of clinicians and researchers within UCL Partners. More than that, it is a tremendous boost for our plans to work together to improve the health of the patients that we serve, developing new techniques and treatments for patients in London, the UK and beyond. Our partners are already world leaders in many areas of medical research. With today's news, we can raise our sights higher still."

UCL President and Provost Professor Malcolm Grant said: "Bringing together the considerable strengths of the individual partners into one academic health science centre is a hugely important event for UCL. UCL Partners has the potential to transform healthcare for Londoners, to enhance training for medical students and to undertake groundbreaking research that will benefit patients here and around the world. The accreditation notably strengthens our position as Europe's leading health research powerhouse."

UCL Partners is the only Academic Health Science Centre with three National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centres, an important component of Academic Health Science Centres. The three Biomedical Research Centres are:

  • the UCLH/UCL Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre;
  • the Moorfields Eye Hospital/UCL Institute of Ophthalmology Biomedical Research Centre
  • the GOSH/UCL Institute of Child Health Biomedical Research Centre.

UCL Context

UCL Partners
Together, UCL Partners will support over 3,500 scientists, senior researchers and consultants, with a combined annual turnover of around two billion. By pooling resources and expertise, UCL Partners will be able to produce more world-class research in key areas, including cancer and heart disease, and deliver the benefits more rapidly to patients in London, and around the world.

UCL is the most highly cited university in Europe. As measured by citations in academic publications monitored by the independent ISI Essential Science Indicators service, UCL and its partners are world-class in:

  • Neuroscience - top in Europe and second in the world
  • Clinical Medicine - top in Europe
  • Immunology - second in Europe.

The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise confirmed UCL as the strongest UK medical research university. It led the way for the number of 4* ('world leading') research outputs and the total number of 4* and 3* ('internationally excellent') research outputs, as well as for its 'research power' (the average research score multiplied by the volume of staff submitted for the assessment).

National Institute for Health Research senior investigators
The designation as an academic health science centre follows the appointment on 4 March of eight UCL health researchers as Senior Investigators by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), in recognition of their outstanding contribution to research and research leadership. The researchers, listed below, will provide leadership and expert advice to the NIHR research faculty, and act as ambassadors to promote clinical and applied people-focused research. They join 11 UCL researchers appointed to the position in 2008.

The new UCL senior investigators are Prof Robin Ali (Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Opthalmology); Prof Nick Fox (Clinical Neurology); Prof Anne Johnson (Infectious Diseases); Prof Stan Kaye (Oncology); Prof Peng Tee Khaw (Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Opthalmology); Prof Andrew Lees (Clinical Neurology); Prof David Miller (Neuroimaging) and Prof Mervyn Singer (Critical Care Medicine).

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