WMS is dedicated to providing a dynamic environment that values and supports all of our staff and students. To achieve our overall aim of delivering high quality research that informs clinical and public health practice and policy, we have built multidisciplinary teams of researchers from both within and beyond WMS, and are working to support our early career researchers.
Research Staff Forum
A UoW Research Staff Forum serves a networking function and provides a focus for gathering staff views on issues such as induction, training and development. With a representative on the University Research Committee, the Forum helps inform UoW’s policy and practice, improving the experience of being a researcher at Warwick.
Wolfson Research Exchange
The Wolfson Research Exchange is a community space that offers peer support and a forum to promote interdisciplinary collaboration. Specific activities include:
- Early Career Researcher Network
- Special Interest Groups (aligned to the University's Global Research Priorities)
- Piirus (a searchable online system for researchers to discover collaborators)
Early Career Research Group
Our (WMS) vibrant early career researcher group meets monthly to discuss WMS, University and external research opportunities and challenges. This discussion forum of non-clinical and clinical scientists facilitates the sharing of ideas, experience and knowledge across disciplines, encouraging post-doctoral researchers to stay at WMS.
Joint (University and NHS) Academic Strategy Committees agree new clinical academic appointments and developments in partnership with WMS. Joint appraisals are carried out for all NHS/WMS appointments. We have an integrated approach to providing clinical and international public health academic training.
A particular feature of our work is that we are very active in studies of rehabilitation involving non-medical clinical academics (e.g. nurses, physiotherapists and health psychologists). The support programme for these clinical academics is integrated with that of the medical clinical academics.
We have laboratories at two locations; a biomedical interface at the UoW Gibbet Hill Campus (adjacent to Life Sciences and close to other university departments) and a clinical interface at CSRL (adjacent to UHCW Hospital). Our research environment and culture is distinctive in its interdisciplinarity, with a particular emphasis on cross-campus collaborations involving:
- Systems Biology
- Life Sciences
- Warwick Manufacturing Group
- Warwick Business School
An ongoing programme of refurbishment ensures our laboratories remain state-of-the-art as we expand our research.
Where appropriate we share specialist facilities with others in the UoW; for example our statisticians using powerful computing services elsewhere in the University for simulations or the orthopaedic surgeons using stress-testing equipment housed in the engineering department.
Gibbet Hill Campus
Facilities based at Gibbet Hill include our newly built Mechanochemical Cell Biology Building, the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit as well as a range of laboratories adjacent to the School of Life Sciences, which allows for easy collaboration between the two schools.
Our state-of-the-art Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) building was built with £4M of investment from the West Midlands Science City Research Alliance (SCRA).
We are developing infrastructure for early phase clinical trials of new drugs in metabolic health. The first human trial of a nutriceutical developed in collaboration with the Warwick Crop Science Centre and a commercial partner will start in 2014.
Mechanochemical Cell Biology (MCB) Building
Our £6.4M state-of the-art MCB Building was opened by Sir Paul Nurse in April 2012. Built to the highest environmental standards, and funded by UoW in partnership with the Regional Development Agency and the Wolfson Foundation, the building contains laboratories and the Image Factory.
With a full-time university manager, we have 10 microscopes and a clean room for the development and production of the Warwick Open Source Microscope (WOSM). Supported by a university technician, and supported by the Warwickshire Private Hospital Charitable Trust, the WOSM provides a stable, bright, modular optical microscope platform for biophysical cell biology.
Laboratories adjacent to life sciences are equipped with variable atmosphere incubators, Illumina MiSeq benchtop sequencer and a dedicated data server. Expansion and further development of EnteroBase, a database containing genotypes from several 100,000s of model organisms and pathogens, is a research priority. Future research will extend into parasitology and strengthen links between basic science and clinical infectious diseases. WMS, in partnership with Swansea, Cardiff and Birmingham, are developing a Consortium for Medical Microbial Bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary facility for the academic, industrial and healthcare communities.
Clinical Sciences Research Laboratory (at UHCW)
Facilities at CSRL include six well-equipped patient research interface suites for clinical research, as well as the Human Metabolism Research Unit (HMRU) and the Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (WISDEM). The laboratories at CSRL/UHCW were awarded NIHR experimental medicine status in 2010. A recently installed PET-CT and three MRI scanners are also available for clinical research.
The HMRU was commissioned in 2010 following a £2M investment from UoW, UHCW and SCRA. It houses the most advanced whole-body calorimeters in Europe as well as a bodpod for air displacement plethysmography, magnetic resonance imaging for brown adipose tissue and facilities for cardio-pulmonary exercise testing. The unit supports research into the determinants of human obesity and its metabolic sequelae and enables the study of metabolic profiles associated with other endocrine conditions. The HMRU is affiliated to the WISDEM Centre and uses laboratory facilities at CSRL.
In 2012, WMS and UHCW invested £500k in an independent Biomedical Research Unit in Reproductive Health (BRU-RH) for systematic sample collection (biobank), deep clinical phenotyping (database), advanced ultrasound imaging, and laboratory analyses.
Learning and Development Centre
All staff have an individual learning account that accesses a personalised training portfolio supported through the University’s Learning and Development Centre (LDC). Programmes are delivered against the Vitae Researcher Development Framework. Staff supervising research students attend an Introduction to Research Supervision workshop.
The LDC supports researcher development, identifying and developing a comprehensive training programme targeted at research-active staff needs. The LDC offers one-to-one support and a variety of workshops on such topics as:
- Managing and leading research teams
- Core personal effectiveness skills
- Teaching and learning
- Research project management
- Academic writing
- Statistics and data analysis
- Technologies for research
- Enterprise and entrepreneurship
- Equality and Diversity
Tailored training in public engagement and impact is provided by both a Public Engagement and Policy Advisor (and Public Engagement Network) and Research Impact Officers.
There are also a variety of longer-term programmes available such as the Warwick Mentoring Scheme and The Warwick Leadership Programme, which support staff development over a prolonged period of time.
Institute of Advanced Study
The Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) offers personal development support to researchers, including its Academic Careers and Employability (ACE) Programme, which is focused on preparation for academic employment. There are also targeted IAS fellowship programmes for early career researchers.
We provide opportunities for prolonged study leave (one term to one year) for academic staff to develop their research ideas.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Practice (PCAPP)has been created to recognise, support and develop the varied roles of new academic staff with a specific module on research activities.
Appraisal and Review
Academic staff are assigned mentors, and all staff (full-time, part-time and fixed-term) participate in the Annual Review process to identify personal development goals. Staff on Fixed-Term Contracts hold regular career review meetings with their supervisor. Joint appraisals are carried out for all NHS/WMS appointments.
WMS has a scholarship programme to pay PhD fees for staff, and subsidises the fees for taught part time masters level programmes. Masters programmes provide foundation academic training for new academic fellows.
Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Research
Interdisciplinary research is central to WMS. Researchers collaborate widely across the University campus and with external partners including the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the University of Monash and the University of Boston.
WMS is actively involved in interdisciplinary centres and institutes such as the Institute of Digital Healthcare and the Systems Biology Centre.