Our biggest postgraduate success stories from around the College this year. Read more about the fantastic efforts of our postgraduate programmes in 2020, including staff awards, student achievements, new funding opportunities and much, much more!
Edinburgh Surgery Online
Caledonian Heritable Foundation
In a new development for 2020, The Caledonian Heritable Foundation in Edinburgh has made a commitment to establish 20 online Masters scholarships for trainee surgeons in low and middle income countries.
The first cohort of ten scholars will join the MSc Surgical Sciences and ChM programmes in September 2020. The scholars come from 8 low and middle income countries around the world, from Mexico to Fiji.
The Glenmore Scholarships cover full overseas tuition fees for eligible programmes and are tenable for one academic year. You can find out more information about these awards using the link below.
Irene is a recent recipient of a Glenmore Scholarship and has just started the MSc Primary Care Ophthalmology:
"As a primary eye care provider passionate about the well-being of my patients, I sought to be on top of affairs regarding modern clinical care procedures that would enhance diagnosis and management of ocular conditions.
I believe the opportunity to pursue this programme will broaden my knowledge on clinical procedures that will ensure better outcomes for my patients, especially those with glaucoma. I am also confident that this step will further equip me to impart such knowledge and skill in the field of academia, in my country, in the not-too-distant future."
Read more on Irene's story using the link below.
Staff and Teaching Excellence
MSc Critical Care
Earlier this year, the MSc Critical Care - in conjunction with the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh - made a number of its courses available online for free in a bid to support frontline NHS staff in the fight against Covid-19.
The information is designed to equip clinical staff and healthcare providers with the tools to combat the virus and save lives. The resources have been created to support those who are treating critically ill patients for the first time and clinicians who are returning to the frontline after some time away.
Within 2 days, over 10,500 healthcare professionals had already signed up from 157 countries around the world!
As of 15th December 2020, over 47,000 learners have enrolled on the course and 361 reviewers have awarded the course an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. A huge well done to all team members on the Critical Care programme who put these resources together so quickly.
For more information on this project, please visit the link below.
Veronique Miron Lab
Senior Lecturer Veronique Miron (pictured right) has been awarded the Suffrage Science Award in Life Sciences, curated by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, which celebrates women in science for their scientific achievements and for their ability to inspire others.
You can read an interview with Veronique on her research journey using the link below.
Dr Ruth McQuillan receives the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching in recognition of her development of a well organised and sustainable structure for all aspects of online postgraduate teaching in the Deanery of Molecular, Genetic & Population Health Sciences and for her advice and support more widely.
Having set up the online Masters in Public Health from scratch, she then shared her experience by helping to create a postgraduate teaching hub in the Deanery. She has provided extensive advice to newer online programmes and has also recently seized the opportunity offered by the City Deal and the Data Driven Initiative to lead the development of three new postgraduate taught programmes.
Ruth also co-led the UNCOVER (Usher Network for Covid-19 Evidence Reviews) initiative - a community of staff, students, alumni and emeriti working together as a team to provide rapid evidence reviews on Covid-related topics to policymakers, including SAGE and the Scottish Government.
Well done Ruth on this fantastic achievement!
MSc Stem Cells and Translational Neurology
David Hampton is Programme Director of the MSc Stem Cells and Translational Neurology. He is a joint awardee, along with Rebecca Wright of Robert Gordon University, of the Edify Simulated Bioscience Lab Award.
David will be collaborating with Rebecca and a team from Robert Gordon University to accelerate the student learning experience within an immersive virtual lab.
Read the full list of winners using the link below.
Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey results
The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine has once again performed extremely well in the annual PTES [Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey] results. CMVM earned an 88% overall satisfaction rate, which is higher than the 82% Russell Group average.
Furthermore, several online programmes earned scores of 100% in overall satisfaction. These results are a reflection of the hard work being done by our postgraduate teaching staff year-round – congratulations to everyone involved on this wonderful achievement.
Veronique Miron Lab
Former PhD student Amy Lloyd won the prestigious early career Jean Corsan Prize from Alzheimer’s Research UK for best neurodegeneration paper of 2019. Read press coverage of the award via the link below.
In other student news from the Miron Lab, Irene Molina-Gonzalez passed her PhD viva this year and PhD student Niamh McNamara won an honourable mention in the Expert’s Choice category for the international BioRender scientific graphical abstract competition, placing 35th out of thousands of international entries!
Congratulations to all of the students and graduates of the Miron Lab.
Edinburgh Surgery Online
Thushan Gooneratne is based in Sri Lanka and was awarded a fully-funded Edinburgh Surgery Online Global Scholarship. Thushan graduated this winter as the top performing student on the ChM in Vascular & Endovascular Surgery.
As such he was awarded the James Hogarth Pringle Medal and a prize of £200. However, he has kindly donated his prize money to the scholarship fund as he felt the programme was such a benefit to him that he wants to “pay it forward”.
Thushan had the following to say about his experience of online learning: "As an International trainee, the ChM Vascular and Endovascular online distance learning program was an excellent addition to my postgraduate education in vascular surgery.
The University offers a comprehensive programme covering the gamut of vascular and endovascular surgery, from discussion of fundamental principles of core subject material, application of knowledge in problem-based case scenarios, to research and dissertation.
In an evolving era of virtual leaning, that is fast becoming the norm, the University of Edinburgh ChM Vascular and Endovascular programme, together with a unique learning platform and an incredibly committed faculty, is the only one of its kind, seamlessly merging knowledge and application towards building a ‘complete’ vascular and endovascular surgeon setting the benchmark for future online learning programmes."
Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine
Congraulations to PhD student Sarah Taylor, of the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, who won the Max Perutz science writing award 2020. This competition challenged MRC students nationwide to write an engaging article describing their research to a lay audience, with the winning article published in the Observer newspaper. Read Sarah’s winning article about her research into chemoresistance in ovarian cancer using the link below.
Guia presented her project entitled "Ethanol induction of colorectal tumours and precursors in a mouse model of Lynch Syndrome" during the Winter Meeting of the Pathological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, which was held from the 21st to the 22nd January 2020. Guia won the Plenary Oral prize for best oral presentation - well done!
Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Francesca Worsman BVM&S MSc MRCVS, pictured right, has just completed a 4 year Clinical Training Scholarship, funded by the Horse Race Betting Levy Board at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (R(D)SVS) under the supervision of Dr John Keen and colleagues. This culminated in the award of an MSc with distinction for her thesis entitled ‘Real-Time Three-Dimensional Echocardiography for Left Atrial Volume Assessment in Thoroughbred Racehorses: Observer Variability and Comparison with Two-Dimensional Echocardiography'.
Throughout the Scholarship, Francesca has excelled in all aspects of her training, and is due to sit her European College of Internal Medicine (ECEIM) Diploma examinations in January 2020. In recognition of her research work, Francesca was awarded the best resident presentation at ECEIM Congress in Valencia in November 2019.
The equine department at the R(D)SVS has an impressive and consistent record for training Specialists in Equine Medicine and Surgery. Many go on to impressive and impactful careers in veterinary medicine, in research and/or clinical spheres.
DART - Development Autism Research Technology
The DART lab group were delighted to celebrate five successful PhD completions this year, with students Margaret Laurie, Bérengère Digard, Sinead O’Carroll, Shereen Sharaan and Bethan Dean all completing their vivas remotely during various stages of lockdown.
Their PhD projects covered a wide-range of topics, including bilingualism in autism, social cognition in preterm children, and socioeconomic influences on infant language development. The newly-minted post docs are going on to a range of exciting roles including research at Lego, engagement at the Patrick Wild Centre, and facilitating neurodiversity research in the Middle East.
The DART group (pictured below right) is part of the Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre, led by Professor Sue Fletcher-Watson, and focuses on neurodevelopment, cognition and education.
For obvious reasons, this year our staff and students have pulled together to work hard on various research projects relating to the global Covid-19 pandemic. There are too many press releases and updates to list here, so we've included a link to the dedicated Covid-19 response pages which are updated regularly.
Below are some highlights from staff within our College:
MSc Clinical Education
The SMERC project aims to develop evidence-based interventions to support doctors’ well-being and promote resilience during COVID-19 related transitions (and beyond).
Gill Aitken, programme director of the MSc Clinical Education, has been working with colleagues from every medical school in Scotland on a large CSO funded project investigating doctors’ wellbeing during the pandemic.
The study aimed to form a robust evidence base to inform the development and implementation of interventions to support the wellbeing and promote resilience of doctors in Scotland. To explore how doctors across the career continuum experienced transitions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this affected their wellbeing in multiple domains. The study used a pragmatic rapid research design underpinned by relevant theory.
Visit the website link below for more information.
New Programme Launches
PhD with Integrated Studies in Medical Sciences with Engagement
2020 saw the launch of an innovative new PhD programme in CMVM - the Medical Sciences & Translational Research PhD with Integrated Studies in Engagement for Impact.
Developed by Professor Donald J. Davidson and Dr Elizabeth Stevenson, with support from a terrific Leadership Team, this four-year PhD programme (also referred to as PhD with Integrated Studies in Medical Sciences with Engagement), will combine medical science and translational research projects with integrated and credited teaching in science communication, public engagement, patient involvement, data design and informatics, via established MSc courses and/or new Engagement for Impact courses
Engagement for Impact: A new kind of research PhD
· Training research excellence: discovery in medical sciences with engagement & career development
· Empowering engagement: embedded, credited taught & applied engagement practice throughout
· Establishing real world opportunities: applied engagement skills for societal impact in that research field
· Prioritising tangible outcomes: Assessed research-integrated “Engagement for impact” portfolios as a PhD output
· Redefining research excellence: Outcome-focused engagement as an essential part of a research career
Our ambition is to empower PhD students as change agents; altering research culture to reposition engagement in the design, delivery and conduct of scientific research. Alongside excellence in scientific discovery, we will equip PhD students with communications, engagement and data design skills, and enable opportunities for real world engagements, designed to have a transformative impact on the health challenges people face in their daily lives. These engagement for impact outputs will be embedded as essential, credited components of the degree, fundamentally intertwined with the research focus.
Our first three students began this PhD programme in September 2020; their research projects, at CIR (IRR), IGMM, and CCBS, cover respiratory viral infections, neurodevelopmental disorders, and novel therapeutic approaches.
This PhD programme aligns with the vision, purpose and values of University of Edinburgh’s Strategy 2030 and is a critical component of CMVM’s Public Engagement with Research Strategy.