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The City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh has a population of around half a million people and is a city of great distinction and beauty. It is served by excellent rail links to the north and south by the East Coast Line. Edinburgh International Airport provides direct links to many British, European and North American cities. Edinburgh is the political and financial capital of Scotland, and is home to the Scottish Parliament and headquarters to the major financial institutions. Edinburgh is famous for its International Festival, which takes place for three weeks every August, but Edinburgh also has a great variety of artistic opportunities in music, theatre and film throughout the year. There are numerous private and public golf courses and sports clubs, and major sporting events at Murrayfield stadium. Being a fairly compact city, there is easy access to glorious countryside. Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns together constitute a World Heritage site, and the city has a number of first-class schools and a wide choice of housing, varying from Georgian elegance to modern.

The University of Edinburgh

The University is amongst the largest and most competitive research-led Universities in the UK, According to the October 2009 Times Higher Education (THE) Review it is one of the top 5 universities in the UK and top 20 in the world. In 2006, the University was rated 14th in the world for biomedical research (THE). It was graded within the top 6 multi faculty British Universities in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (over 90% of its academic staff were in departments rated 4, 5 or 5*). The University has an international reputation for excellence and has around 3,000 academic and academic-related staff, and over 20,000 students, including 3,700 postgraduates. It has an annual turnover in excess of 350M. The University consists of three Colleges: Science & Engineering, Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, and Humanities & Social Science. The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine The Medical School, and College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, is headed by Professor Sir John Savill. The Medical School in Edinburgh can trace its origins back nearly 500 years (Darwin, Simpson and Conan Doyle were students here) and is internationally renowned for its research and teaching. The existing qualifications for undergraduates are amongst the most competitive in the UK. Academic disciplines within Medicine are largely concentrated in the two teaching hospitals in Edinburgh, namely the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France (RIE) and the Western General Hospital (WGH). The new RIE was recently constructed on a green field site under a Private Finance Initiative (completed 2002). It is a state-of-the-art multi-specialty hospital linked with the Medical School which is housed in two purpose built teaching and research facilities, the Chancellor’s Building and the Queen’s Medical Research Institute providing the accommodation and facilities required for the majority of the clinical students and associated academic clinical staff previously located at the old Royal Infirmary in central Edinburgh. The Western General Hospital (WGH) has also undergone major redevelopment of its clinical research and teaching facilities. The Molecular Medicine Centre (5m) was opened in 1995, a new Wellcome Millennial Clinical Research Facility (4m; joint development between the Wellcome Trust, University and Lothian Health), a 40m new clinical wing, the Anne Ferguson Building, and a new Medical Education Centre (1m) were opened in 2001, and a new Cancer Research Building (7m) in 2002. The University (through its Medical School) and Lothian Health work in close collaboration to ensure the co-ordination of the Health Board's Integrated Health Care Plan for Lothian with the University's teaching and research plans.

Edinburgh in RAE 2008

In RAE 2008, the College submitted to three Units of Assessment, reflecting cross-centre working in physical or virtual institutes. Across the College, just under 70% of staff can be considered to have been working at the internationally excellent (3*) level or above. The College was placed first of 28 submissions in the UK in Hospital-Based Clinical Subjects, submitting 162 staff, predominantly from the Queen’s Medical Research Institute (QMRI). QMRI host a BHF Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) Centre for Cardiovascular Science, an MRC Centre in Inflammation Research, a Centre for Regenerative Medicine and a Centre for Reproductive Biology including the MRC Human Reproductive Sciences Unit. The Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) hosts the Molecular Medicine Centre, MRC Human Genetics Unit, Cancer Research Unit and Population Health Sciences/Primary Care. All staff were at the international level with 80% of the submission at the internationally excellent (3*, 40%) or world-leading level (4*, 40%). The College was placed fourth in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science, but this was the best placed submission including a Vet School and delivered the largest volume of 4* research in the whole UK, with 111 staff from the Roslin Institute, Centre for Infectious Diseases and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. The College was sixth in the UK in Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology, submitting 92 staff from Edinburgh Neuroscience, a virtual institute incorporating the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, the Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems, the Centre for Neuroregeneration Research and the Centre for Integrative Physiology.

Translational Medicine and Therapeutics in Edinburgh

Edinburgh has a number of senior clinical academic staff who are leaders in translational medicine (including Professors John Iredale, David Newby, Stuart Ralston, David Webb and Brian Walker) and one of the strongest Centres for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the UK (Professor David Webb, Head of Department and STMTI leader; Professor Nick Bateman, Head of the Scottish Poisons Unit; and Professor Simon Maxwell, UK leader of Prescribe, a DoH training initiative).

Edinburgh also hosts major underpinning technologies, as follows:

  • The Millennial Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (WTCRF;; Director,
    David Newby), opened in 2000, an outstanding environment for clinical research, acknowledged nationally, reported as exemplar by Academy of Medical Sciences. Core resources: research governance infrastructure, GCP support, SOPs, etc. Core facilities include integrative physiology, genetics, mass spectrometry, statistics, image analysis. WTCRF also hosts a multi-disciplinary postgraduate research training programme (Director, David Webb) as part of Clinical Research
    Training for Scotland (
  • Partnership in SINAPSE, building a common platform for multicentre imaging research across
    Scotland, with critical mass of expertise to support human imaging research. Optimal extraction of pathophysiological metrics from imaging biomarkers requires proper training in imaging, supported through STMTI.
  • Imaging facilities include the pre-clinical British Heart Foundation funded Biomedical Imaging Unit
    (7T-MRI) and micro-CT. The new Clinical Research Imaging Centre with 128-multidetector CT/PET,
    320-multidetector CT, mock-MR and 3T-MR scanners and on-site cyclotron (British Heart Foundation and Medical Research Council funded through the Wellcome Trust-lead Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative), and 1.5T-MR scanner, SFC Brain Imaging Research Centre.
  • Edinburgh Clinical Trials Collaborative (Chair, Professor Gordon Murray) is a UKCRN Registered Collaborative that incorporates the Medical Research Centre Methodology Hub (Director, Professor Gordon Murray), Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit and Health Services Research Unit (Director, Professor Stuart Ralston), Clinical Neurosciences Trials Unit (Director, Professor Peter Sandercock) and WTCRF Epidemiology and Statistics Core (Director, Dr Sarah Wild).
  • Bio-Quarter ( a 100-acre site housing Institute of Pathway Medicine (Director, Peter Ghazal: Affymetrix array platform; facilities for custom array production/hybridization), and SCRM ( Dep. Director, ffrench-Constant), bringing together world-leading basic stem cell research with established clinical excellence for a "bench-to-bedside" approach in degenerative disease.
  • Centre for Translational & Chemical Biology ( Director: Malcolm Walkinshaw): interface between inorganic chemistry, biology and medicine, provides facilities (including Solexa and Roche megabase sequencing platforms) and expertise to promote interdisciplinary research, including protein production and characterization, virtual screening for drug leads, advanced practical training and commercial opportunities.
  • IGMM ( Director, Hastie FRS): new partnership between MRC Human Genetics Unit, Molecular Medicine Centre and Cancer Research Centre with core facilities for DNA sequencing/genotyping, and researching key genes in disease as therapeutic targets, including clinical trials of gene therapy.

NHS Lothian Clinical Services & South East Scotland Clinical Training

The Lothian University Hospitals are a Division of Lothian Health and bring together the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (~850 beds), the Western General Hospital (~500 beds), St John’s Hospital Livingston and the
Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Thus, the Division has three large acute teaching hospitals and a specialised paediatric hospital. Clinical training is available in all of the major clinical specialties, usually 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 South East Scotland Postgraduate Deanery (Postgraduate Dean Professor
W Reid) and by a consultant who is specialty advisor in each specialty.

There is an existing broadly based clinical academic training programme in Edinburgh called the Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track (ECAT, Leaders Professors John Iredale and Brian Walker). STMTI will run alongside ECAT and gain many benefits from joint training and research opportunities. As with trainees in ECAT, successful STMTI candidates based in Edinburgh have approval in principle to proceed to ‘run-through’ clinical lectureships to allow them to complete their clinical training while preparing to move seamlessly to a more senior academic position, as a clinician scientist, senior fellow or senior lecturer.

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Last modified: 28 January 2014   2007 The University of Edinburgh