Health and Medicine at Lancaster: Priorities 2017-22

Over the next ten years Lancaster will further enhance its reputation as a major international presence in the field of health, medicine and life sciences.


FHM staffWe will have built a very strong reputation based on:

  • Our distinctive focus on the future needs of health systems – in particular, a major emphasis on population health;
  • Our excellence, with all aspects of research and teaching being ranked in the top 10 in the UK in the relevant field; and
  • Our exceptional levels of collaboration – in particular, outstanding levels of inter-disciplinary working, our networks in health, and our international outreach.

Through our research, our external engagement, and the knowledge and skills of our graduates, our expertise will be having real impact on health and care – it will be:

  • Making major contributions to underpinning knowledge and understanding;
  • Influencing policy and practice and driving innovation internationally and nationally;  
  • Supporting, locally and regionally, the delivery and development of health and care services and the social and economic development within communities to promote population health and reduce health inequalities.

Its ways of working and the accommodation and facilities available will mean that it is a great place to work.

And it will have grown significantly but in a way that is sustainable.


A key part of our vision will be to develop Lancaster as a centre of excellence in population health, focusing specifically on:

  • identifying and addressing the determinants and processes (social, biological and psychological) leading to poor health
  • the prevention and early diagnosis of illness
  • early interventions to limit illness and its consequences
  • the maintenance and enhancement of health, wellbeing, and independence throughout life including when living with long-term and end-stage illness
  • the development of the health and care systems and of individuals and communities to maximise health and wellbeing.

During this period we are planning for significant growth.  In terms of scale our ambition over the next five years is to grow:

  • Our staffing by 30-40% (to a total staffing of c.350) – but with growth varying in scale and timing across the different parts of the Faculty (c.20% growth in DHR, c50% growth in BLS and c.50% growth in LMS (with particular expansion in clinical academic staffing)).
  • Our student numbers from 200 UG pa to c.350 pa and from 240 PG pa to c.300 pa with an improved balance between UG, PGT, BL PGT, PGR and BL PGR (with particular emphasis on growing international student numbers where possible).

Priorities 2017-22

Our priorities for 2017-22 are to:

Develop the faculty as a centre of excellence in learning and teaching

With a particular focus during 2017-22 on:

  • Completing and implementing the review of our courses to ensure that they are attractive to the highest quality applicants
  • Continued action and innovation designed to enhance student satisfaction, retention and equality of opportunity
  • Driving forward actions to improve the career progression of our graduates
  • Wherever appropriate, aligning our education offer to reflect our research strengths and distinctiveness and our emphasis on interdisciplinarity
  • Growing our student numbers:
    • Increasing our UG student numbers through a combination of expanding medical student numbers, establishing our Sports and Exercise Science degree, and increasing entry to our updated portfolio of courses in biomedicine and biological sciences and, where appropriate, exploring the opportunities for further new courses
    • Increasing our PG student numbers while re-balancing PGT and PGR student numbers on Blended Learning programmes through a combination of continuing to develop our PGT offer and growing the number of traditional route externally-funded PGR students.

Develop the quality and volume of research

With a particular focus during 2017-22 on:

  • Further expansion of our existing research themes (ageing; social and economic inequalities and health; mental health; infectious disease transmission and biology; health informatics, computation and statistics; and, in conjunction with FST, digital health) including:
    • specific development within these themes of the focus on population approaches to health (typically building on emerging expertise)
    • the development of medical clinical academic capacity and capability within those themes
  • Establishing a process (and criteria) for identifying and developing potential sustainable new themes
  • Further increasing the volume of inter-disciplinary research – through strong engagement with the University’s Institutes, the NHS and industry
  • Enhancing the capacity and capability for enabling the translation of research into impact on international and national policy and practice
  • In all of these continuing to improve our application and success rates with major funders (especially BBSRC, MRC, ESRC, EU, NIHR, AMRC and the private sector, including a specific focus on increasing the number of post-doctoral fellowships), maximising the proportion of research outputs judged to be 3* or 4*, and implementing approaches to maintain and enhance our research environment.

Develop effective engagement with key stakeholders

With a specific emphasis on driving and supporting health innovation and a particular focus during 2017-22 on:

  • Establishing the Health Innovation Campus as a world-class centre of excellence for innovation in health and wellbeing, with clear alignment of its priorities to the strengths of the Faculty and the University and strong engagement of staff from all parts of the University including the Faculty
  • Establishing a Health Engagement and Innovation Team with structures and processes that promote effective engagement with the health sector on behalf of all parts of the University
  • Co-developing effective strategic partnerships with a comprehensive range of organisations and individuals internationally, nationally and  locally, placing particular emphasis on those relationships that help us to shape our work to address key challenges in population health, promote the national and international impact of our work, enable those with a stake in improving population health in Lancashire and Cumbria to benefit from the University’s expertise and become an ‘academic health system’, and enhance the career prospects of our graduates. Locally this will include the NHS, other public sector organisations (e.g. councils), the third sector, businesses, and local communities and patient/carer groups
  • Making best use of existing expertise, supporting staff to develop their ability to engage effectively and to drive innovation based on co-creation, co-development, co-evaluation and entrepreneurialism.

Build our international presence

With a particular focus during 2017-22 on:

  • Establishing our first major Faculty-level international research partnership and developing at least one more
  • Increasing recruitment of high quality overseas students to our courses at Lancaster, the University’s international teaching partnerships and overseas branch campuses.

Promote a culture within the Faculty that reflects the University’s values and makes it a highly attractive place to work

With a particular focus during 2017-22 on:

  • Moving increasingly to staff working in groups which, together, provide a balanced contribution to all three key areas of the work of the Faculty whilst allowing each group member to have a different personal balance of work
  • Supporting the development of all staff – in particular by ensuring the provision of a range of relevant development opportunities, ensuring equity of opportunity to access such opportunities, and by embedding and enhancing the University’s PDR process across the Faculty
  • Implementing agreed enhancements to our recruitment, appointment and induction processes and to our probation, promotion and other processes designed to support the retention and reward of staff as they progress through their career pathways;
  • Implementing agreed enhancements designed to promote a healthy working environment including the balance between work and home-life.

Ensure that the necessary support is in place for achieving these ambitions

With a particular focus during 2017-22 on:

      • Ensuring an appropriate range, balance and quantum of financial resource to provide a sustainable platform for our intended growth through a combination of making the very best use of the financial resource already available and positioning ourselves well to secure additional resource linked to our evolving plans and needs
      • Securing the space and facilities we need to do our work well – in particular:
        • planning and implementing effective arrangements for Departmental work in the HIC building
        • ensuring effective transitions to the HIC
        • ensuring good working environments in the interim
      • Enhancing our internal and external communications in line with our core values
      • Ensuring that the development and promotion of our work is informed by a comprehensive marketing approach
      • Continuing to review and enhance our administrative structures as our needs evolve
      • Ensuring effective leadership and management