Research

College research summary

The College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine is an internationally leading force in basic-to-clinical translational research. The college has a long-standing commitment to the concept of one health, enabling the translation of expertise from human to animal medicine and vice versa.

The College has a distinguished record of research that delivers innovation, from the discovery of leukaemia, antisepsis and chloroform anaesthesia in the 19th century, to the UK’s first kidney transplant and Scotland's first islet cell transplantation, to the cloning of Dolly the Sheep and the UK’s first living donor liver transplant.

The College aims to have impact on both human and animal health and welfare through the translation and commercialisation of the research output of our four multidisciplinary research institutes and 12 research centres.

Our research addresses unmet need nationally and internationally, including in developing countries, and influences policy at the highest levels.

Research impact in medicine

Medical research at the University of Edinburgh has impact in more than 100 countries, including many developing countries. This research has benefitted millions of individuals in areas such as preventing childhood pneumonia, more effective cardiovascular and liver surgery, reducing blood transfusions, ovarian cryopreservation and stroke prevention and management.

Examples of impact in the UK:

  • The University's stroke research has led to an improved outcome or hospital experience for 48,000 stroke patients annually.
  • Edinburgh researchers have helped to establish the UK’s first unit for percutaneous coronary intervention, introduced post-cardiac arrest cooling, and introduced new analytical approaches to monitoring quality of care in intensive care units.
  • Working with the Scottish Ambulance Service, researchers have revolutionised out-of-hospital cardiac care.
  • Edinburgh research has generated annual medical cost savings for the National Health Service of more than £450 million.

Research impact in animal health and welfare

The Roslin Institute undertakes world-class basic and translational science, tackling some of the most pressing issues in animal health and welfare, and their implications for human health and for the role of animals in the food chain.

The vast majority of the Roslin Institute’s research projects are linked to industry. According to an independent economic assessment, the institute produces an estimated £320 million gross value added in the UK economy; approximately £13 for each £1 spent.

Research has brought benefit to animal health and the livestock and other farming industries, nationally and internationally, via disease pathology and epidemiology, as well as genetic and welfare improvements.

Examples of the Roslin Institute’s research impact include identification and treatment of bovine neonatal pancytopenia (BNP) in calves, marker-assisted breeding of salmon for resistance to a viral disease, and the first mammal cloned using cells from an adult.

Colleagues in the University’s Edinburgh Infectious Disease group have eliminated trypanosome carriage in Ugandan cattle, preventing sleeping sickness in humans.

Researchers at Scotland’s Rural College with partners at the Roslin Institute are changing UK and EU policies in areas such as the welfare of laying hens and minimising stresses during animal transportation.

Infrastructure to deliver impact

In the past decade more than £220 million has been invested in the College’s translation infrastructure.

The College’s impact is catalysed and supported by:

  • state-of-the-art research and training facilities
  • ongoing support from UK Research Councils and other major funding bodies
  • co-location and collaboration with NHS hospitals
  • all major imaging technologies for human and animal imaging
  • on-site clinical trials, bioinformatics and commercialisation support
  • strategic, basic-clinical science crossover
  • approved licensing, for example to manufacture human cell therapy products
  • Edinburgh Genomics, a collaborative centre for functional genomics
  • the National Avian Research Facility, which includes a Transgenic Chicken Facility
  • embedded entrepreneurs, pharmacologists and pharmaceutical industrialists
  • close links with academic units such as chemistry and engineering

The on-site Edinburgh BioQuarter life science development, an £18 million, six-year partnership with Scottish Enterprise, has established Edinburgh as one of the world’s top 10 centres for biomedical commercialisation.

The Roslin BioCentre at Easter Bush is a cluster of world-leading research-intensive life science companies and a thriving scientific community.