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The City of Aberdeen

With a population approaching 250,000, Aberdeen is a city of contrasts, with something for everyone. Its rich cultural heritage combines with a thriving, contemporary community and a strong economic pulse, to make the "Granite City" a lively and rewarding place in which to live and work.

In recent times, it has become – from a start as the administrative and technical centre for the North Sea oil and gas industry – the hub of the world's offshore energy network. It has much to offer in the way
of entertainment and leisure. The city centre has several busy shopping centres and an eclectic mix of independent shops and top chain stores, as well as a wide choice of night-clubs, wine bars, traditional pubs and restaurants. Nightlife is lively, vibrant, and full of variety. Cinema-goers also get plenty of choice.

Culturally, Aberdeen caters for all tastes. A magnificent Edwardian theatre attracts international companies performing ballet, theatre, opera and light entertainment. Many concert halls feature classical, contemporary, and rock concerts. Exceptional museums and an art gallery including the University's museums and collections, display the visual arts, local heritage and visiting exhibitions. The popular Lemon Tree attracts an exciting mixture of contemporary theatre, dance, comedy and music.

For fresh-air enthusiasts, there are miles of golden beaches, dunes and cliffs, which give shelter to great nurseries of seabirds and winter migrants; the nearby mountain ranges of the Cairngorms and the Grampians offer superb opportunities for hillwalking, mountaineering and ski-ing, and rivers such as the Dee, the Don, and the Ythan offer fishing, rowing and canoeing, as well as breathtaking scenery with a wealth of historic castles and magnificent gardens. To find out more about Aberdeen and its surrounding area go to and click on Aberdeen on the map.

Getting about is easy in Aberdeen. It has excellent bus services giving access to all parts of the city and suburbs. Distances are short, and a pleasant walk or a brief cycle run are reliable alternatives. There are good rail, road and air links with other British cities - the flying time from London (Heathrow, Gatwick, City Airport or Luton) and Amsterdam is just over an hour; road links with Edinburgh and Glasgow are first class; rail links southwards are equally good, with several trains each day direct to London and to other cities.

Education and health facilities are both outstanding, and a wide variety of very high quality housing is available within the city and its immediate environs. In addition to Local Education Authority schools, there are two fee-paying schools for girls and one co-educational college. All three cater for primary and secondary pupils.

The University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen, which was founded in 1495, has over 14,000 full-time matriculated students.
The University is a world-class research-led centre of learning and teaching excellence. Coupled with these excellent results, the biological and medical researchers have a strong track record of grant income from the UK research councils, EU and medical charities.

The University has two campuses. The King’s College Campus retains its medieval layout and village atmosphere, its fifteenth-century cathedral and its sixteenth-century university chapel. This heritage is fused with modern, state of the art facilities for research, learning and teaching, making it fit for purpose for the students of today. The Foresterhill campus is approximately 1.5 miles from King’s, a comfortable walk through leafy streets. The University currently employs more than 3900 staff including 1600 academics and has a turnover in excess of 180 million per annum (web site: Eleven areas of research at the University have been ranked in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise amongst the top 25% in the UK: Health Services Research; Biological Sciences; Agriculture and Food Science; Pure Mathematics; General Engineering; Town and Country Planning; Anthropology; French; English Language and Literature; Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies; and History.

The University's organisational and management structure operates within a devolved managerial and budget system. Academic units are grouped into three colleges: Arts and Social Sciences, Life Sciences and Medicine and Physical Sciences.

The College of Life Sciences and Medicine

The College comprises the following five academic Schools, supported by the Graduate School:

School of Biological Sciences (Head of School: Prof Chris Secombes)
School of Medicine and Dentistry (Head of School: Prof Mike Greaves)
School of Medical Sciences (Head of School: Prof Colin McCaig)
School of Psychology (Head of School: Prof Peter McGeorge)
The Rowett Institute for Nutrition and Health (Director: Professor Peter Morgan)
Graduate School (Director of School: Dr Bernadette Connolly)

The College of Life Sciences and Medicine was created in 2003 as part of organisational restructuring throughout the University. The College, led by Professor Neva Haites, Head of College, is home to over 3000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and is internationally recognised as a research-led centre for teaching excellence and increasingly commercialisation. The College is run by the Head of College and Heads of School, who have line management responsibilities, with strategic direction and leadership provided by College Directors of Teaching and Research together with Directors of Research Institutes.

The main driver for the creation of Colleges was to create organisational units large enough to provide managerial, budgetary and planning capacity to determine their own strategies and to manage their own finances at a high level. Within Colleges, structures have been created to support staff and to promote research and teaching collaborations. This also applies to working between the Colleges to ensure interdisciplinary work flourishes.

The School of Medicine and Dentistry and School of Medical Sciences are co-located within two research institutes on the Foresterhill Medical Campus: the Institute of Applied Health Sciences and the
Institute of Medical Sciences
. The Schools of Biological Sciences (with its Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences) and Psychology are located a short distance away on the historic Old Aberdeen Campus, which houses the rest of the University. The College has benefitted from significant estate and infrastructure development in the past 10 years with refurbishments of its Polwarth, Cruickshank and Zoology buildings, the last incorporating a science teaching facility. New build projects have created the Institute of Medical Sciences, the Medical Research Facility, the Health Sciences Building, the deep sea facilities at Oceanlab 1 and 2 (phase 2 opening spring 2009), the Life Science Innovation building and the Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning in Healthcare (opening summer 2009).

Looking ahead, two new build projects are in planning, a new home at Foresterhill for the Rowett Research Institute that merged with the University in summer 2008 and, at an earlier stage, a new centre for environmental change research in a state-of-the-art building (The Bioplex) to be located adjacent to the University’s Cruickshank Botanic Gardens and incorporating public engagement with science activities.

Aberdeen in RAE 2008

Staff from the School of Medicine and Dentistry were returned in 4 Units of Assessment. Overall 96% of the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s research staff who were judged to be of international quality. Furthermore, 73% of the School’s submission was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. The results of the specific subpanels to which the School submitted were as follows:

  • Other Hospital Based Clinical Subjects submission (Unit of Assessment 4) - was ranked as 4th equal in the UK with 75% of staff ranked of world leading or internationally excellent (3* or 4*).

  • Epidemiology and Public Health (Unit of Assessment 6) - virtually all of the submission was rated international, with 60% world leading or internationally excellent.

  • Health Services Research (Unit of Assessment 7) - was the highest scoring submission from the University of Aberdeen and first equal in the UK. All of the submission was rated international, with 80% world leading or internationally excellent.

  • Primary Care and Other Community Based Clinical Subjects (Unit of Assessment 8) - almost all of the submission was rated international, with 65% world leading or internationally excellent.

Translational Medicine and Therapeutics in Aberdeen

Aberdeen has a number of senior clinical academic staff who are international leaders in translational medicine or clinical research including Professors Cosimo de Bari, John Forrester, Emad El-Omar, Michael Frennaux, Michael Greaves. Phillip Hannaford and David Reid. It is particularly strong in clinical trials with its embedded CSO supported Health Services Research Unit (HSRU) headed by Professor Marion Campbell and Health Economics Research Unit (HERU) headed by Professor Bob Elliot.

Aberdeen also has access to fabulous underpinning technologies as follows:

  • An ambulatory Clinical Research Facility (Director: Prof Phil Hannaford) is housed in a new
    Health Sciences Building
    and was supported by a grant from the Wolfson Foundation. Embedded in the unit is dedicated Dual Energy X-ray Absoprtiometry equipment used for imaging and bone and body composition measurement. By December 2009 the imaging facilities will be enhanced by a highly innovative Stereo Digital X-Ray Suite primarily for Musculoskeletal Imaging.

  • Imaging facilities dedicated to research include 2 3T-MRI scanners (one positional) and 4.7T Small-Bore MRI for pre-clinical imaging. Clinical PET/CT is located in a custom built clinical facility with dedicated research facilities and preclinical PET/CT is also available. A CTI RDS 111 cyclotron supports tracer production for both clinical and pre-clinical PET scanners. Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Novel MR imaging hardware including PEDRI free radical imaging are also available. Aberdeen is a partner in SINAPSE, which is building a common platform for multicentre imaging research across Scotland, with critical mass of expertise to support human imaging modeling.

  • Core support research facilities embedded in the modern laboratories building housed in the Institute of Medical Sciences(IMS). These facilities available to all researchers include
    Histology and Electron Microscopy
    , Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting (FACS) including 4 dedicated laser and multi-colour cytometers, Microscopy and Imaging Facility, including confocal microscopy, micro-CT and live-cell imaging and a high quality proteomics service (Aberdeen Proteomics)
  • The (Director: Professor Peter Morgan) has recently been amalgamated with the College of Life Sciences and Medicine, bringing extensive capabilities and expertise in nutritional research aimed at preventing disease and improving health through good nutrition. The facilities will be based in a brand new facility on the Medical School Foresterhill Campus by 2011.

NHS Grampian incorporates Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and Aberdeen Maternity Hospital on the Foresterhill site. Other sites include Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, as well as terminal care facilities at Roxburghe House.

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, has a complement of 975 beds and is situated to the north-west of Aberdeen city on the teaching hospital site with the Medical School of the University of Aberdeen. This is the principal adult acute hospital of the Grampian Area providing a complete range of medical and surgical specialities including General Medicine and allied specialities (Cardiology, Respiratory, Gastroenterology, Infectious Diseases, Neurology, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Haematology, Nephrology, Oncology, Dermatology, Blood Transfusion,Rheumatology and Geriatrics), General Surgery and allied specialities (Cardiothoracic, Vascular, Orthopaedics, Neurosurgery, Plastics, Dental, ENT, Burns, Transplantation, Ophthalmology), ITU, A & E, Radiotherapy and Anaesthetics. Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is also a major tertiary referral centre for the North and North East of Scotland in a number of specialities.

Clinical training is available in all of the major clinical specialties, often involving rotational attachments to more than one relevant clinical unit. The STMTI scheme is available to trainees in any clinical discipline. Details of the units, consultants and clinical training provided in all these disciplines are not documented here, but are available on request. Clinical training, including for Clinical Lecturers, is coordinated by the North of Scotland Postgraduate Deanery (Postgraduate Dean Professor G Needham) and by a consultant who is specialty advisor in each specialty.

Aberdeen Clinical Academic Training Centre

It is only through research that our understanding of the pathophysiology of disease can be enhanced, and new treatments and improved health care delivery introduced and validated. The centre will support STMTI trainees to support them to move seamlessly from clinical research fellow to Clinical Lecturer and onwards to Clinical Senior Lecturer and beyond. Find out more by visiting the Aberdeen Academic Training Centre website -

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Last modified: 28 January 2014   2007 The University of Edinburgh