The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) confers highest accolades on the College’s undergraduate courses in Medicine and Dentistry
College awarded Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the chemiluminescent labelling technology developed in the College in the 1970s. "An award in recognition of almost twenty years work which has made significant impact on provision of healthcare worldwide and which has been commercially successful."
In February, the Sir Geraint Evans Wales Heart Research Institute opens following a major all-Wales funding campaign.
The College, in partnership with Cardiff University, succeeds in obtaining £3m from University Challenge Seed Fund "to make good research into better business". In May, the new Clinical Kinaesiology Laboratory opens, forming the central part of the Department of Physiotherapy Education’s research activity.
UWCM is awarded £13.5 million from the Joint Infrastructure Fund (a joint Government/Wellcome Trust research inititative) to build the Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical research in Wales on the Heath Park Site.
Institute of Medical Genetics and Institute of Wound Healing Research each receive ‘Centre of Excellence’ status from the Welsh Development Agency and the Welsh National Assembly. Both are deemed to have world-class facilities and to be examples of successful industrial collaboration.
Widening student access to UWCM. Tony Higgins, Chief Executive of UCAS, describes UWCM as being "miles ahead of the game, blazing a trail in the UK".
As part of the Welsh National Assembly’s strategy to increase medical student intake in Wales from 190 to 290, the Swansea Clinical School is established as a partnership between UWCM, University of Wales Swansea and the Swansea NHS Trust.
Professor Stephen Tomlinson takes up his post as Vice Chancellor of UWCM. Formerly Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing at Manchester. He says, "I am delighted to have the opportunity to build upon the strengths of UWCM. As the College faces the challenges of the future it is good to know that the deserved excellent reputation of UWCM will provide such a fertile ground for further development."
Vice-Chancellor, University of Wales College of Medicine (2001-2004)
Plans are underway for a new integrated Genetics Institute in Cardiff as a home for the Wales Gene Park. It is hoped that this will become a Centre of National and International importance providing the resources to advance the knowledge of genetic determinants of human disease.
Schemes for widening access to UWCM courses continue with the UWCM Compact scheme, targeting schools from all over Wales. UWCM becomes leading member of MediPlant (The Medicinal Plants Consortium) intended to raise awareness of medicinal plant research. For example, the Abuta plant is used by midwives in the Amazon Jungle to combat pre- and post-natal pain.
Cancer Research UK scientists in Wales announce a discovery that could help halt the rapid spread of breast cancer. Prof. Robert Mansel (UWCM Professor of Surgery) states, " . . . treatment becomes more difficult when abnormal cells spread to other parts of the body. By understanding how cancer cells escape from a breast tumour we can look at ways to halt the process in its early stages and contain the disease."
Research grant of £600,000 awarded to UWCM for study into screening programme for ovarian cancer. The 10-year worldwide race to identify the ‘sperm factor’, the essential molecule in sperm that ‘triggers’ an egg to develop, is won by a team of scientists at UWCM.
On 1st April 2002 the Gwent Clinical School is formally established in acknowledgement of the substantial contributions made by the Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust in the delivery of UWCM’s medical teaching programme. The Report of the National Assembly Review of Higher Education in Wales advocates closer collaboration within the HE sector in Wales, with the possible merger of UWCM and University of Wales, Cardiff; originally proposed in 2001 by Professor Stephen Tomlinson in agreement with Dr David Grant, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University. In its response, the Welsh Assembly Government stresses the continuing importance of UWCM’s ‘all-Wales’ role, "We are clear that any reconfiguration or collaboration must not dilute its all-Wales role and responsibility."
£2.3 million Research Council award for research into ‘optical biochips’ - a system to investigate cell response to drugs and find out whether or not they are diseased in the first instance. This will be a collaborative project with the Optical Biochips Consortium at Cardiff University, University of Bangor, The Gray Cancer Institute in London, University of Warwick and premier laboratories in the USA. UWCM awarded ‘Investor in People’ status - the first pre-1992 university in England and Wales to be honoured in this way.
Plans are formally submitted to the Welsh Assembly Government for the establishment of the North Wales Clinical School, a joint venture between UWCM, HE and NHS partners in North Wales.
After reviewing a range of options for closer collaboration, the Councils of UWCM and University of Wales, Cardiff formally agree that both institutions should merge under the name ‘Cardiff University’ with effect from August 2004.
In July, Professor Sir Peter Harper (pictured below) from the Department of Medical Genetics is honoured with a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his major contributions to research in genetics.
On 1st August the UWCM and University of Wales Cardiff officially merge into one institution, to be known as ‘Cardiff University’, thus re-establishing the Medical School within its parent body after 70 years. The Medical School becomes part of the Wales College of Medicine, Biology, Life and Health Sciences. In September, the Swansea Clinical School admitted its first students into the Graduate Entry Programme in Medicine. Students will spend the first two years at the University of Wales Swansea and the Swansea NHS Trust. They will then join medical students of the Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff University to complete their medical studies for two further years.