Bristol celebrates opening of new £24 million Centres for Excellence
Press release issued: 21 November 2007
State-of-the-art chemistry laboratories for undergraduates and visiting school students, computer-controlled human patient simulators, high-tech facilities for anatomy teaching and a 'lab in a van' are among the features of two new centres opened at the University of Bristol on 21 November.
The centres were developed thanks to the award of £10 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and a further £14 million from the University itself. The Chief Executive of HEFCE, Professor David Eastwood, presided at the opening event alongside Bristol's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas.
The facilities at the CETLs include a joint Mobile Teaching Unit, where students can participate in hands-on anatomy, physiology and chemistry demonstrations. The Unit can also host anatomy demonstrations for local hospitals and postgraduate training centres.
In the School of Chemistry, the Bristol ChemLabS CETL is transforming the student experience of learning practical chemistry. It is creating a major national resource for the teaching and learning of the experimental sciences by establishing professional-standard laboratories and practices with state-of-the-art instrumentation and facilities for the e-learning and assessment of modern laboratory chemistry.
The funding is also being used to host Fellowships for seconded schoolteachers, establish University Teaching Fellowships and develop outreach programmes to engage pre-university students and the general public. New ways of teaching and learning practical science will be disseminated nationwide.
Professor Nick Norman, Bristol ChemLabS CETL Chief Executive, said: “This is an exciting time for Chemistry in Bristol. The Bristol ChemLabS CETL laboratories, incorporating the innovative, web-based Dynamic Laboratory Manual, have enabled us to transform the learning experience for undergraduates and to develop an important national resource for the dissemination of best practice in laboratory-based teaching.”
In the School of Medical Sciences, the AIMS (Applied and Integrated Medical Sciences) CETL offers a learning environment in which the teaching of medical sciences is integrated with the development of clinical skills. The AIMS CETL includes a state-of-the-art Clinical Anatomy Suite, two computer-controlled Human Patient Simulators and a ‘virtual microscope’ – a web-based library of images taken from microscope slides that can be used as an aid to studying the structure of tissues and organs. Such knowledge is fundamental to every medical, dental or veterinary student’s appreciation of how the body functions.
Professor Judy Harris, AIMS CETL Co-director, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, said: “The CETL funding has enabled Bristol to become one of only three universities in the world to develop medical sciences teaching, based on computer-controlled human patient simulators. This is attracting global interest and the simulator-based teaching is proving very popular with students.
“The virtual microscope is also a powerful tool for both teaching and assessment. Its 24/7 availability from any networked computer provides students with enormous flexibility for both study and revision.
“The Mobile Teaching Unit is becoming a great attraction. It enables us to take University equipment and staff expertise out into the community through visits to schools and appearances at science festivals.”