Blog posts

The view of an old St Mary’s man

Professor Peter Sever reflects on his time studying and working at St Mary’s Campus and looks forward to the new vision for the Faculty of Medicine.


I spent three wonderful years as a student at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School and have spent most of my professional life on the Mary’s Campus. Initially in the old Medical Unit with Sir Stanley Peart on the third floor of the Medical School, moving to the top floor of the QEQM building when it opened in 1987, then to offices in North Wharf Road. Finally, when they bulldozed down the North Wharf buildings, I was resettled in splendid new accommodation at the Hammersmith Hospital, in the Imperial College Translational and Experimental Medicine Building.

As one of the oldest Mary’s men still working, it came as a culture shock after so many years at Mary’s to decamp to the heart of the Hammersmith – an institution with which, for so many years in the past, we competed fiercely!

The move has been a great success and I realised that it’s people, not buildings that are important in the modern world. Bringing together clinicians and researchers, working together in their different disciplines, in new purpose-built accommodation, that provides them with the best opportunity to carry out their scientific programmes and look after their patients, is a goal to which we should aspire.

One of the problems I have experienced over many years has been the fragmentation of clinicians and scientists working across several campuses in a far from efficient way, when consolidation of our enormous talents on single sites would have benefited all. If we are going deliver the best research and the best patient care we must look hard at the geography of our institutions and plan for the optimal way in which we can achieve our goals. (more…)

Imperial Confidence in Concept scheme funds 20 new projects

We are delighted to report the outcome of the seventh Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) competition. The aim of the ICiC scheme is to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach. These awards ‘pump-prime’ the translation of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics towards clinical testing.

We had a fund of over £1.4million for the ICiC scheme this year, and this includes contributions from the MRC, NIHR Imperial BRC, Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund, EPSRC Impact Acceleration Accounts, and HEIF funding, as well as support from NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research.

Professor Roberto Solari chairs our cross-College Panel, which includes Imperial academics from scientific, engineering and medical fields, as well as external industry experts. Over 70 applications were received this year, and the Panel was impressed with the high quality of applications. Proposals covered the full breadth of biomedical translational research across the College, including:

  • ‘Stem cell-derived hepatocytes for high throughput antimalarial drug screening’ (Jake Baum and Wei Cue – Faculty of Natural Sciences & Medicine)
  • ‘A device to prevent pressure ulcers using novel pressure equalisation technology’ (Spyros Masouros and Colin Boyle– Faculty of Engineering)
  • ‘Development of a Food Standards Agency approved Nutritional Milk with a Legume-base for children with severe malnutrition’ (Kath Maitland and Gary Frost – Faculty of Medicine)
  • ‘Novel, low-cost instrumentation for clinical histopathology of kidney disease’ (Paul French, Candice Roufosse, Terence Cook, Christopher Dunsby, and Mark Neil – Faculties of Natural Sciences & Medicine)

(more…)

Confidence in Collaboration scheme

London Advanced Therapies is seeking applications for its Confidence in Collaboration scheme, which offers a total of £1.5m funding to stimulate new research collaborations between two or more London academic partners in cell and gene therapy. This is the second of two calls for proposals.

Funding of up to £50K per project will be awarded to provide consumables and/or equipment to pump-prime new, exciting collaborative work that has the potential to go on securing more substantial funding from UKRI, charitable funders and/or Industry.

The London Advance Therapies – Confidence in Collaboration projects will have the following attributes:

  • Supporting new research collaborations in cell and gene therapy between two or more  London Academic Institutions (with the aim of building cross-institutional teams)
  • Applicable to pre-clinical, clinical, manufacturing and underpinning technology research (and other similar areas)
  • Maximum of £50K, normally 12 months duration, supporting pump-priming/pilot research
  • Funding can support directly-incurred costs, including facilities use (but not salaries)
  • Applications must be led by an established academic at one of the London institutions and always involve a PI from  King’s College London, University College London and /or Imperial College
  • Submissions should be co-led by PIs working at two or more London Institutions.

Applications will be assessed by a cross-institutional expert panel.
Expression of Interest should be submitted by email to: advanced.therapies@kcl.ac.uk – contact us with a paragraph describing your project and we will send you an application form.

Deadline for full submission  will be on 12 September 2019please make sure you contact us well in advance with your expression of Interest.

Get to know: Chris Allan, Senior Occupational Health Adviser

Chris Allan, Senior Occupational Health Adviser

Describe your job in three words:

Help people change.

When did you first realise you wanted to do what you do?

It was about 15 years ago; I knew I wasn’t very happy where I was and what I was doing, so I made a decision to do something about that.

What’s the best thing about your role?

I feel really privileged to meet and help a diverse range of people.

What’s the most challenging thing about your role?

I help people face some of their toughest challenges in life. Lots of people know what they should do, but knowing isn’t enough, because action is often scary.

What’s the proudest moment of your career?

I don’t really feel proud very much, but knowing I can share the tools to help people through difficult times is rewarding – I like finding the way together!

Tell us a little about your work on Mental Health First Aid?

I first trained as a Mental Health First Aid instructor in 2014. Since then MHFA has really taken root at Imperial and become something that enables many of our wonderful volunteers to support those around them. Growing and nurturing that network is where much of my work takes place. (more…)

Get to know: Rebecca Frise, Research Technician

Rebecca Frise, Research Technician, Department of Medicine

Describe your research / job in three words:

How influenza works

When did you first realise you wanted to do what you do?

I attended a conference at which my current PI (Prof Wendy Barclay) was the keynote speaker and I knew I wanted to join her lab and research team.

What’s the best thing about your role?

The team I work with and the flexibility given to me by my manager and college.

What’s the most challenging thing about your role?

No two days are the same; sometimes you can’t plan for the problems that arise and you have to troubleshoot on the spot.

What’s the proudest moment of your career?

Publishing my first journal paper

Name a machine / software /object you couldn’t do your job without:

Has to be the software GraphPad Prism

What is the one thing you want to know/do before you die?

Visit Patagonia in South America
(more…)

Get to know: Dr Shona Blair, Head of Research Strategy

Dr Shona Blair, Head of Research Strategy, Faculty of Medicine

Describe your job in a few words:

Develop and support strategic research initiatives

What’s the best thing about your role?

Supporting world leading researchers, and the team I work with.

What’s the most challenging thing about your role?

Understanding the depth and breadth of the research we do, the complexities of our structure and our engagement with the NHS.

What’s the proudest moment of your career?

Giving a key note address on my research, while the world leader in my field was in the audience, and receiving very positive feedback from him.

I heard that you’ve done some research on bees and honey – tell us a little about that:

As a former microbiologist, I’ve been involved in research into the antimicrobial and other therapeutic properties of honey, with a particular focus on manuka from Australia and New Zealand, for quite a few years. (more…)

Delivering the vision for medicine at Imperial – an update from the Dean of Medicine

Professor Jonathan Weber - Dean of the Faculty of Medicine

As you may be aware, I am at home recovering from a spinal injury sustained in a car accident in Zimbabwe, where I was visiting one of our research units; I hope to be back after Easter. In the meanwhile, I am immensely grateful to Martin Wilkins who has stepped in as Acting Dean while I am away from College, and would also like to thank all of my colleagues for their well-wishes and their continuing support of the Faculty during this time. My enforced spell of reflection is, of course, very frustrating given the outstanding opportunities that currently stand before the Faculty, and the College as a whole. However, it has afforded me some time to reflect on how best to realise these emerging opportunities for Medicine.

In July 2018, not long after my appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, I wrote in the College Staff Briefing about the distinctive environment that medical science now enjoys at Imperial. I wrote of the extraordinary benefits of Medicine now being well-embedded within the wider ecosystem of excellent fundamental science at the College, while working translationally with our AHSC network of NHS partners. I also described the new opportunities that have been catalysed across the College by the development of our White City Campus, particularly through exploiting adjacency to the Hammersmith Campus.   Since I wrote that piece, Novartis have announced their intention to relocate their UK headquarters to White City, elegantly demonstrating the ‘pulling power’ of our emerging life sciences cluster. (more…)

Introducing our redesigned Faculty of Medicine Newsletter

March marks the launch of our redesigned Faculty of Medicine internal newsletter, which is now being delivered to the inboxes of postgraduate research student members of our community as well as all Faculty staff members. The monthly email has taken on a new style and design following an extensive redesign project.

We in the Faculty’s Communications Team wanted to provide an insight into the redesign project and how changes made to the newsletter were driven by your feedback.

Why change the newsletter?

Although the Faculty newsletter scored positively in the 2017 Staff Survey – 70 per cent of staff agreed or strongly agreed that it was a useful communication channel – we were keen to review a structure that had remained largely unchanged for around five years. With the Faculty newsletter a crucial component of our internal communications, we felt there was a clear need to freshen the design and ensure it evolved to fit the needs of our community.

The newsletter was also designed at a time when it was the main piece of medicine-specific internal communications; necessitating a broad and varied remit. Since then, the Faculty’s departments have developed their own newsletters, which now cover a significant proportion of the newsletter’s original scope. (more…)

Faculty of Medicine’s new IMPACTS Short Course – what is it?

Joana Dos Santos explains a new short course for Master’s students, IMPACTS (Inclusive Module on Professional And Critical Thinking Skills):

IMPACTS is an elective, non-credit bearing short-course for PG students in the Faculty of Medicine. 

What is the IMPACTS short course aiming to address?

As professionals, most of our skills have been acquired and refined through years of practice and interactions within our own scientific community. These essential skills to success notably include identifying key literature, critically engaging with different types of scientific publications, presenting data efficiently as well as interpreting and critically discussing complex data sets. Importantly, we might take some of these skills for granted and consequently expect our students to demonstrate them without having necessarily taught them, or taken into account the cultural, educational, linguistic or learning difficulties background of our students. (more…)

HR Transformation – New ‘Hubs’ go live on Monday 4 March for Faculty of Medicine

The HR Transformation Project will be transitioning the Faculty of Medicine’s HR departments into the new College HR Structure on Monday 4 March. This is the beginning of improving the HR services the Faculty receives, and will involve a change in how faculty staff can access HR services.

You can find details about the changes to the structure of the HR service and key contact points (including for the newly-formed Recruitment HubStaff Hub and the Faculty’s Strategic Support team) on the Faculty of Medicine’s HR support information webpages.

As the transition progresses, both the HR teams and Medicine departments will be adapting to a new way of operating. While I’m confident that service levels should improve quickly following the implementation of this change, we will need your feedback to understand how well it is working. We’ll monitor the HR service provided closely, and will address emerging issues as quickly as possible. To help us continuously improve the service we offer, you can provide feedback on your experience to Claudia Menichetti (for the Staff Hub), Jason Chambers (for the Recruitment Hub) or myself.

Monthly update from the Institute of Global Health Innovation

News

Could bird songs help boost engagement with hearing tests?

A new venture will explore the use of bird songs to encourage engagement with hearing tests. The idea was born out of a two-day workshop led by the NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, developed to stimulate innovative ideas that could help improve communication for adults with hearing loss.

Find out more – http://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/190086/could-bird-songs-help-boost-engagement/

Could a smartphone app make hospitals safer?

In a new study, Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) scientists will begin evaluating whether the Streams app can help both patients and healthcare staff by making important medical information more readily available.

Find out more – http://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/190069/could-smartphone-make-hospitals-safer/

Running a hospital in a warzone (more…)

Monthly update from the Institute of Global Health Innovation

A roundup of news, events and blog posts

My one WISH this Christmas – ending the stigma around mental health

Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) spoke to one of our scientific advisors, Mr Hutan Ashrafian, who shared his thoughts and expertise on mental health.

Professor Stephen Matlin reflects on the importance of addressing the health needs of the migrant and refugee community

Digital data: a double-edged sword for safer healthcare

Technology and digital security were key features of discussions at Sixth Annual Patient Translational Research Centre Symposium.

A new study from the Patient Safety Translational Research Centre highlights the most common types of fatal drug administration errors in hospitals.
 

Upcoming opportunities

 
IGHI’s Student Challenges Competition is open for applications. We’re looking for UK university students to submit their with novel ideas in global health for a chance to win up to £5000.

Postgraduate opportunity: student representative for Research Ethics Committee

Calling all postgrads!

Imperial College London would like to recruit a postgraduate student representative for the NEW Science, Engineering and Technology Research Ethics Committee (SETREC). SETREC will focus on non-health related projects and will run alongside the ICREC which previously had oversight for all health and non-health studies.

A key aim of the Committee is to enable Imperial to maintain the highest ethical standards in all research relating to human participants.

SETREC will convene monthly on the third Tuesday of each month at South Kensington Campus. If you are interested in joining the Committee, please send a short letter outlining relevant experience and suitability. Please include an up to date copy of your CV.

No experience necessary. Applications must be sent to Nooreen Shaikh at the Joint Research Compliance Office. Information on ICREC can be found on the website.

Closing Date: 28 February 2019

‘How to engage with policymakers’ support for Imperial researchers

How to engage with policymakers for Imperial researchers
The Public Affairs team is currently working on a new programme to support Imperial researchers connect with policymakers, including workshops with policymakers on specific themes, training, information and support to individual academics.

Seminars for Imperial researchers were introduced at the end of 2018 and will continue this year. These seminars aim to equip researchers with everything they need to initiate or continue their engagement with policy. The seminar will provide an introduction to policy-making and influencing as well as a practical guide on how to engage policymakers with research to achieve increased impact. It is suitable for all levels of experience and no preparation will be necessary.

The next dates are:

  • Thursday, 21 February: 13:45 – 16:00
  • Wednesday, 27 March: 9:45 – 12:00
  • Friday, 26 April: 13:45 – 16:00
  • Friday, 31 May: 13:45 – 16:00
  • Friday 28 June: 13:45 – 16:00

All seminars will take place in the Boardroom, Faculty Building, South Kensington Campus.

To register or if you have any questions, please email The Forum team: the.forum@imperial.ac.uk

We look forward to seeing you soon. 

Lisa Bungeroth
Public Affairs Manager

Need to work over the Christmas closure period?

The College closes at your usual finishing time on Friday 21 December and reopens on Wednesday 2 January. If you need to undertake any essential work between these times when the College is closed, the College Access to College Buildings Out of Hours Policy applies. Please see the policy for more information on what is considered to be essential work.

The policy requires you to obtain written permission from your Head of Department (or, for the Department of Medicine only, your Head of Division). There is a link within the Policy to the form that you need in order to obtain such permission.

Heads of Department/Division must be satisfied that appropriate lone working arrangements are made in line with the College’s Safe Management of Lone Working Code of Practice, and that wellbeing implications are considered prior to out of hours access being granted.

Security staff are likely to check whether such permission has been granted if you are working at these times.

 

GRANTfinder 4 Education – new provider for research funding information

The College no longer subscribes to Research Professional and has moved to a new provider for research funding information, called Idox GRANTfinder 4 Education, offering a searchable database of funding opportunities and the option to subscribe to alerts.

GRANTfinder 4 Education allows academic institutions in the UK to service all their funding search requirements in one place: GRANTfinder for wider projects such as capital investment and spin-offs, RESEARCHconnect for research projects and POLICYfinder to keep track of relevant policy to support funding applications. This resource offers the ability to search for up-to-date funding opportunities and share information across defined groups and the wider communities at Imperial College and to deliver these in a cost-effective manner.

How to use GRANTfinder 4 Education

Information regarding how you can access and effectively use GRANTfinder 4 Education can be found in the Research Office bulletin (12 Nov 2018) and the quick start guide for RESEARCHconnect.

There will be a training session will be on 12 December. Antony McKay from Idox will deliver the training and there will be 3 sessions, all in room SKEM 315. Registration is via Eventbrite. The second session of the day will be tailored for research managers and the other two sessions are open to all College staff. Please register for the session you would like to attend. If you are unable to attend these sessions there will be more scheduled for the early part of 2019. (more…)

Monthly update from the Institute of Global Health Innovation

IGHI Annual Lecture 2018
IGHI Annual Lecture 2018

A roundup of news, events and blog posts

Global Health Forum: Viral hepatitis

IGHI’s November Global Health Forum brought together experts to discuss the current challenges in tackling viral hepatitis.

Imperial College London’s Dr David Nabarro took to the floor at the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s (IGHI) annual lecture to address the pressing subject of sustainable development.

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2018 united some 2,000 healthcare innovators, researchers and policy-makers to address the most pressing global healthcare challenges of today.
IGHI speaks to Professor Graham Cooke to discuss how viral hepatitis is affecting populations around the world and what’s being done to treat it.

 

ICT Customer Services Restructure – What does it mean for FoM?

ICT Customer Services is currently undergoing a restructure led by the Head of Customer Services, Leigh Davenport. The new model is designed to allow us to focus more on the operational relationships with the faculties by giving the faculties a dedicated resource who will be their day-to-day interface. Whilst we are focusing on the customer relationship we are also going to improve the efficiency of service delivery, making better use of the staff we have by pooling our resources and continue our trend of improving resolution times whilst driving down Service Level Agreement breaches. The changes are due to take place in a structured and phased way, over the next 6 to 8 weeks.

New roles and changes to teams

  • A new function has been created called the Customer Services Management team, headed by Dawn Beaumont. Customer Services Managers will own the operational relationship with customer departments and manage customer satisfaction within ICT. As well as leading the new team, Dawn will also be the Customer Service Manager with responsibility for Medicine.  Dawn has spent her entire career at Imperial providing IT support to Medicine, worked at all of the Medicine campuses and has for the last 15 years been the Faculty Support Manager responsible for the teams providing IT Support at the Medicine sites.
  • The ICT Digital Partners will still own the strategic relationships with the departments, initiating and guiding new projects and will work with the Customer Services Managers to champion the “voice of the customer” within ICT.
  • The Faculty Support team will report into a single Faculty Support Manager, Jamey Khan, who will oversee the services of resource teams providing deskside support in departments and via the ICT Service Desk in Central Library for South Kensington-based staff and existing local offices on remote campuses. This move should allow improved responsiveness of engineers to adapt to changing demands across the organisation.
  • Elmy Thompson, the current Site Manager for Hammersmith, Charing Cross and White City will be moving to take up the role of Departmental Operations Manager taking charge of the ICT’s Admin function. Dominic Spencer who currently covers St Mary’s, Chelsea and Brompton will have responsibility for managing deskside support teams across all the College’s remote campuses.

In terms of how things will work, for support requests and faults, please continue to submit as usual. Full details can be found via the ICT pages

Staff on clinical campuses will continue to have access to their local teams.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Leigh Davenport, Head of Customer Services.

Opportunities from the Clinical Academic Training Office (CATO)

Researcher Development Course

This course, taught in two modules, provides an excellent grounding of the critical underpinning skills required to perform high-quality research.

  • Course dates: Module 1: 11 – 12 March 2019 / Module 2: 13 – 14 June 2019 at Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus
  • Target audience: designed specifically for healthcare professionals outside of medicine

Further Course information

There are a limited number of FREE bursary places available for Imperial College London staff in healthcare professions outside of medicine to cover the course fee. Contact the CATO Team for further bursary details.

 

CATO Masterclass

Revolutions in public health research and how to access UK Biobank data: An update for all Clinical Academics

  • Course date: The next Imperial CATO masterclass is on January 24 2019, 18:00hrs, at the Royal Marsden Hospital (Julian Bloom Lecture Theatre).
  • Course content: The focus will be on how clinical academics might use the increasing wealth of population and NHS data (including UK Biobank) in research studies, or work with epidemiologists and others in exploring research questions using their data and skills.
  • Target audience: This will be particular interest to those of you who are not public health researchers to learn about how you could potentially work with such academics, and learn what they are currently doing, and how to access data such as UK Biobank.
  • Speakers: this will include Dr Ioanna Tzoulaki, Reader in Epidemiology, who uses UK Biobank data to explore genetic associations of inflammatory biomarkers (amongst others).

Please complete the online form to book your place.

Update from the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS)

Visualisation of new building. Image credit: Hawkins\Brown
Visualisation of new building. Image credit: Hawkins\Brown

New home for the LMS

In 2017 the Medical Research Council and Imperial College London announced a joint project to build a new home for the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) on the former Cyclotron site. The location of the LMS at the Hammersmith Hospital campus has supported the delivery of multidisciplinary research at the interface of medicine and basic science. The new building will bring the Institute together in a state-of-the-art collaborative research environment with specialist research facilities.

This month the project reached a major milestone with the submission of planning permission to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The application will be live on the Council portal in a week’s time, with a planning decision expected in March 2019.

Alongside the development of the planning application, the procurement of the contractor for the project has begun. While the team await the planning decision the project has now moved into RIBA stage 4, the technical design stage. Our design team of Hawkins\BrownBuro Happold and Abell Nepp are continuing to work with the LMS and our project team to develop these plans over the coming months. (more…)

Faculty of Medicine’s new Attributes and Aspirations Module – what is it?

Dallas Alexandrou, project manager for the Attributes and Aspirations module explains this new module:

In parallel to the ongoing curriculum review, the Faculty of Medicine postgraduate team has identified the need to develop high-quality tools and activities to help our Master’s students take ownership of their professional futures and develop their graduate attributes beyond the mastery of their chosen discipline.

As a result, the proposed Attributes and Aspirations (AA) module has been approved by the College Pedagogy Transformation Committee and is currently being developed. It will use interactive pedagogical activities based on a blended, inclusive, innovative and active approach to supporting our students.

Critical to the development of the AA module is that it meets both students’ and employers’ needs. Research has been undertaken to identify the relevant topics and skills our students are keen to develop, together with the skills and attributes identified by employers as being critical graduate skills for current and future employment. Areas including effective career guidance, practice of selection processes and skills such as adaptability, communication, critical thinking, problem solving and effective team work have been identified as priorities.

Subject to the College’s standard approval mechanisms, a pilot delivery of the AA module will commence from Autumn Term 2019-20 in selected Faculty of Medicine MSc/MRes programmes. AA will be non-credit bearing and elective, with much of the delivery online to avoid interfering with students’ timetabled teaching and lab sessions.  Following evaluation of the pilot, there is an ambition to offer the module to students from all FoM postgraduate programmes and to students from Faculties across the College. (more…)

From the Vice Dean (Education): Supporting education in our Faculty

Martin Lupton
My appointment as Vice Dean (Education) was announced last month, and it is a great privilege to be asked to lead our community of creative and inspiring students and education staff. Since the Dean asked me to take on this role, I have been thinking about how I can best support those in the Faculty of Medicine involved in education.

We are in a time of great change and opportunity. As you know, we are currently involved in a comprehensive undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum review. We are also about to make a significant investment in our pedagogy and digital education capacity (initially funded through the Learning and Teaching Strategy). Furthermore, for the first time, there is a clear path to academic promotion based on a person’s scholarly and educational activity.

It is obvious that I cannot manage all this change alone. I propose two things: (more…)

Monthly update from the Institute of Global Health Innovation

Joe Biden at Imperial, October 2018

A roundup of news, events and blog posts

Joe Biden delivers inaugural cancer research lecture at Imperial

IGHI was honoured to welcome the 47th Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, who delivered the inaugural lecture of the Imperial Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Centre.

Global Health Forum: Cancer technologies 

IGHI’s Global Health Forum returned on 11 October for the new academic year tackling cancer technologies.

IGHI Podcast: The Progress of Cancer Technologies

Ahead of October’s Global Health Forum, IGHI spoke to Abellona U to discuss how far we’ve come in cancer technologies, their translatability to lower and middle income countries and her research on hepatocellular carcinoma.

A Marginal Call in Breast Cancer

Mr Daniel Leff looks at the major challenge in margin problems when it comes to breast-conserving surgery for Breast Cancer Awareness month. (more…)