Edinburgh Medical School


All staff within the Centre are engaged in research and academic activities. We have a strong research profile with a number of research priorities and an expanding number of PhD and MD students.

Over the years, we have collaborated in a number of  international and national research projects such as TUNING and MEDINE. Members of the team regularly hold grants from bodies such as PTAS, ASME, CSMEN and SMERC. We all frequently present and take part in academic meetings and conferences.

Our current research priorities and areas of activity are:


Assessment and feedback

Assessment and feedback in clinical education is of critical importance for public safety, fairness, and promoting competence in practitioners. Cross-institutional research on how assessment and feedback can be improved is essential for promoting a better-educated clinical workforce and can be applied to a range of disciplines.


Preparation for practice

Evidence shows that throughout the UK, junior doctors have felt poorly-prepared for practice in certain key areas such as acute care and prescribing skills. Studies have also shown that with the increasing importance of patient safety within healthcare, junior doctors again feel under-prepared in the non-technical skills (such as prioritisation, task management and leadership) required when working within modern healthcare teams.


Technology enhanced learning

The university has a growing and diverse range of online distance learning postgraduate programmes. Focussing on one of the more established flagship programmes, the MSc Clinical Education, we have been exploring the experiences and views of both staff and students to add to the limited empirical research in the area of online learning and teaching. In the undergraduate medical programme, we have also been studying the use of clinical recordings in teaching and research (the ‘CHERRI’ project) and the' flipped classroom' to deliver innovative teaching to all medical students, using pre-recorded presentations and the development and evaluation of other online digital resources.


Simulation-based earning

A number of studies locally have been addressing the role of simulation-based learning in the Edinburgh undergraduate medical programme. These projects range from the use of low-fidelity simulation modalities to high-fidelity specialised areas such as immersive simulation. These studies have shown clear benefit in terms of the educational experience of our medical students. They also  translate into better-prepared and safer junior doctors and better patient care. We are currently gathering data to empirically demonstrate this.


Faculty development

  • Faculty Development for Scotland project. We led a research group across Scotland to gain consensus on core competencies in teaching for consultants. This has subsequently been used as the basis for the ‘Recognition of Trainers’ in Scotland.
  • Conceptions of teaching. As part of a doctoral thesis in education, we reviewed the literature and developed a typology of conceptions of teaching which has subsequently been developed and published as a tool for faculty development.
  • Peer assisted learning. We have a long-established record for research and development peer-assisted and near-peer teaching (eg, junior doctors with medical students).


Curriculum development

We led the Tuning (Medicine) Project as part of the EU-funded ‘MEDINE Thematic Network in Medical Education’, to define and gain consensus on learning outcomes for primary medical degrees across Europe (Cumming and Ross 2007, 2008).

We subsequently consulted on the EU-funded ‘EUROPET’ Thematic Network and ‘CHARME’ Project (CHARME 2014), before successfully securing EU funding and leading a second thematic network, MEDINE2, of 93 partner institutions across Europe.

Starting with the release of the first ‘Scottish Doctor project: common learning outcomes for medical undergraduates in Scotland in 2000' (SDMCG 2000), we have continued to study and share experiences and insights in undergraduate medical education via the Scottish Deans group.


Research committee

This committee oversees research activities and doctoral supervision, including all students on the PhD Clinical Education and MD students. It has four main areas of responsibility:

1) Strategic planning for research. The committee is responsible for developing a strategic research plan, providing leadership and guidance in relation to clinical /medical education research, reporting on research activities for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and other external requests. We also promote a joined-up approach to research planning in the Centre.

2) Resourcing and staffing research and doctoral supervision. This includes sharing information about grant opportunities, helping secure funding for research and doctoral supervision staff, job-planning, new appointments and use of research and development income to backfill time as appropriate.

3) Professional development and training of researchers, supervisors and research students. This includes sharing information about research training opportunities, sharing good practice and concerns/issues arising at committee meetings, and ensuring appropriate support, training and induction for new researchers/supervisors.

4) Oversight of PhD and MD students at all stages. This includes advertising, application, induction, supervision, support, progression, monitoring, final submission and assessment.



If you are interested in working with us on a research project, please contact Femke.Morrison@ed.ac.uk