MHLS Faculty Newsletter
As my term of PVC comes to an end I thought it would be worthwhile (at least for me!) to pen a few thoughts on the past 3 years in terms of where our Faculty has come from and where it's heading. Certainly we have not been short of challenges over this period. The tragic loss of our Vice-Chancellor and President, Paddy Johnston was by far and away the greatest of these. In terms of other internal pressures the demanding targets of Vision 2020, the change in the academic year structure and strike action all come to mind as massive challenges we have had to face up to. Externally the fall of the Assembly and Brexit have played and remain to play out in a manner which has been extremely detrimental to our entire university, staff and students. These are my personal views and not those of Queen's University of course!
However I want to look at the positives and there are so many of these. First and foremost is you, the staff of our Faculty. Often when people do leave a position of responsibility the standard line is that 'I have been honoured to serve and work with....'. In my case I have to say I have simply been astounded about how complex our Faculty is in terms of day to day operations and how so many people put so much passion, experience and dedication into making sure that things operate so well.
Shortly after I took on the PVC role we had the results of the Staff Survey. Based on this and listening to as many staff members as possible I could see that some things needed to be changed and I do hope with the support of many staff that things are better than they were. Driving SWAN has been another of my strong commitments to our Faculty and I do hope that we have improved, from a strong base, how we better support and encourage advancing the careers of women in science.
Over the past 3 years we have worked very hard collectively to improve our education and research programmes. Despite many of the challenges I mentioned previously I'm extremely optimistic about both going forward. I will be looking out for the NSS scores come autumn 2019 to prove this optimism was well founded! I also believe I will continue to see the increasing number of large research grants be awarded, especially from those funders who also support the wider infrastructure of the university and not just the research itself. Of course research is not just about funding, it's how this is used to produce world leading and impactful outputs and outcomes. The recent view of all REF UoAs showed how strong our Faculty sits now and will continue to strengthen right up to REF itself.
For myself, to be totally honest, I'm still not clear what 2019 will bring. I have agreed with our VC to continue to support a couple of projects that I initiated and I will be very happy to do this. I am very much looking forward to having more time to put into my own research area and I will be beating my 'Food Integrity' drum in many parts of the world next year! I also very much hope that I will have the time and space to develop stronger and exciting research collaborations with a number of colleagues within our Faculty.
I'd like to close this ramble with a number of thank yous. First to Julie Boucher, my PA who had the impossible task of trying to manage my diary and support me in so many other ways. This was always done with a joke and a smile (plus a few well-placed tellings off along the way). I'd also like to thank the entire Faculty team that has been assembled over the past 3 years. The degree of professionalism, collegiality and energy demonstrated has been quite remarkable. But more than anything else, I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment and dedication to your roles within our great university. While we can all have a bit of a moan from time to time, Queen's University is somewhere special to work and this is mainly because of its fantastic staff, something we can all be very proud of.
The Vice-Chancellor led a delegation to China in November which had strong representation from MHLS. Following a meeting of the Presidents’ Forum of the UK-China Consortium on Engineering Education and Research in Nanjing, the next stop was Shenzhen, where Professor Colin McCoy, Dean of Internationalisation in MHLS, joined the delegation.
“Small countries can do big things.” Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics and Dean of Education, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences at Queens’s University Belfast has highlighted how Northern Ireland has shown leadership at both national and European level in controlling cancer, a disease that kills 2.8 million citizens of the People's Republic of China each year.
Speaking at the 4th UK China Regional Leaders Summit in the city of Dalian in the Liaoning Province, Professor Lawler highlighted how Northern Ireland and China, though different in scale, had shared healthcare priorities, particularly in the area of cancer. He commented: “Healthy China 2030 aligns with our 70:35 Vision, 70% long term survival for cancer patients by 2035. Through our work with over 60 partners in 25 countries, this 70:35 Vision has now become a priority across Europe.”
A joint team from Queen’s and HSCNI Business Services Organisation (BSO) has been selected by the Health Foundation, an independent charity, to be part of the first round of its new £1.2 million data analytics programme.
Cancer experts warn that Brexit will seriously harm UK cancer research and could trigger a manpower crisis that will negatively affect the health of our citizens.
Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast in collaboration with King's College London and the University of Leeds have produced new evidence on the positive benefit that researchers from other European Union (EU) countries currently have on cancer research in the UK.
On the front cover of the recent publication of British Medical Journal (BMJ), Professor David Thompson from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast has appealed for the end of the Doctor – Nurse Game.
Professor Thompson said “Professional hierarchies appear to be endemic in health systems, but we have now got strong evidence that they harm patients and contribute to an organizational culture of fear in healthcare”. As a nurse who has held leadership roles for more than thirty years, Professor Thompson cites the recent report into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, where around 600 people received fatal doses of opioids and where there appeared to be a culture of uncritical deference to doctors by nurses and a fear of raising concerns with managers.
Congratulations to the faculty staff members who have received various awards between August and December 2018.
To view the full details, click here
Congratulations to the School of Nursing and Midwifery’s Dr Carmel Kelly, QUB Lecturer & Nurse Consultant South Eastern Trust, & team including Dr Michelle Templeton and Professor Maria Lohan and partners in South Eastern Trust who have swept up awards for pioneering nurse-led prison sexual health services and health promotion including 1st prize at South Eastern Trust Chairman Awards and two silvers at CIPR with Morrow Communications. The Awards were held in October 2018.
Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Leeds, as part of a pan-European partnership called the European Cancer Concord (ECC) ®, have won the prestigious 2018 European Health Award.
This award honours initiatives that help tackle some of Europe’s most pressing health challenges.
The award-winning project, entitled ‘The European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights: A Catalyst for Change and an empowerment tool for cancer patients across Europe’ involves an equal partnership between cancer patients, healthcare professionals and cancer researchers.
Congratulations to the following staff members who have been appointed new roles within the faculty;
Professor Pascal Mckeown – Head of School and Dean of Education, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences
Tara Brown – School Manager, School of Pharmacy
Professor Karen McCloskey – Director of Queen’s Gender Initiative and QUB Academic Lead for SWAN.
Professor Tunde Peto and Professor Nathan Congdon from the Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast were delighted to host a visiting delegation of dignitaries from Vietnam during November.
The 12 strong group from Ho Chi Minh City have a primary role in advising, planning and managing Vietnam’s national diabetic programme. The group were in Belfast to discuss the diabetic retinopathy screening and grading process used in Northern Ireland with a view to replicating the service model in Vietnam. The two day visit included information about screening, grading and treatment approaches and a visit to the Belfast Ophthalmic Reading Centre based in the Centre for Public Health.
Professor Peto has previously linked in with eye health NGO ORBIS International to provide training in screening and grading for diabetic eye disease for health professionals in Vietnam.
Congratulations to Professor Tim Dornan, Centre for Medical Education and Professor Tunde Peto, Centre for Public Health, who held inaugural lectures in November 2018 at the MBC.
Professor Tunde Peto - A tour around the World using images of the eye: from bedside to Artificial Intelligence
Professor Tim Dornan - How Medical Students become Doctors
The Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine took great pleasure in hosting Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin as our guest speaker at the 2018 Barcroft Lecture on 7th November. Following on from the tremendous success of last year’s talk by Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, leader of the research group behind the cloning of Dolly the Sheep, this year WWIEM cast its net around to find the brightest and best of Irish academia and were delighted when Professor O’Neill accepted our invitation. His talk on “Metabolic reprogramming in inflammation and innate immunity: prospects for new therapies” was followed by the award of the Barcroft Medal by Professor Jose Bengoechea, Director of WWIEM.
SPaRK is a Horizon2020 funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie doctoral training programme that supports 20 interdisciplinary PhD students at Queen’s University Belfast. PhD students funded within Marie Skłodowska-Curie programmes have the title of Early Stage Researcher (ESR).
At its core, the SPaRK Programme is driven by the need to develop future leaders whose skills combine disciplinary excellence with a capacity for interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international (3i) working that creates genuinely disruptive thinkers. These are the thinkers who will have the edge in a highly competitive, global job market.
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Many people are uncertain as to the choices they can make about the information they share when accessing websites, social media platforms or even just their phone. This in-depth infographic provides a practical guide on how anyone can increase privacy on their browser, social media networks, and mobile device.
Work is almost complete on the new building to house the School of Biological Sciences and Institute for Global Food Security. The New Year will see the building handed over to the University, with the new state-of-the-art equipment being installed in January 2019. Once this phase is completed, research groups and support staff will begin to migrate into their new accommodation. In order to minimize disruption to students, teaching will continue to be delivered in existing facilities, but will transfer to the new building for the new academic year.
The new facilities will be home to globally recognised experts in areas right across the biological sciences, and will provide the foundation from which the School and Institute will help to grow our life sciences sector, especially in areas such as agriculture/food science, food safety, disease/infection biology, diagnostics, waste management, ecosystems and the environment. The Life Science graduates who will be trained within the new building will underpin these areas and help facilitate future growth and economic prosperity across Northern Ireland.