2018. HUCBMS 25th Anniversary Celebration at the House of Lords, 1 May 2018


The Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Sciences (HUCBMS) is celebrating its 25th Anniversary during 2018. Its achievements and successes over a quarter of a century were celebrated by a reception sponsored by The Lord Rana MBE at the House of Lords on 1 May.

Established in 1993, HUCBMS held its first meeting at the University of Bradford. The founders and first officers were Terry Baker (Bradford), Chairman; John Clarke (Cardiff), Secretary and Treasurer; Ray Jones (Portsmouth) and Gerry McKenna (Ulster), Vice Chairman.

The organisation was formed originally to represent those university departments offering degree programmes and research in biomedical sciences. Degree programmes in biomedical sciences have existed in the UK since the mid-1970s when the University of Bradford and, the then, Portsmouth Polytechnic developed such programmes. These were followed before the end of the decade by similar developments at Cardiff (now Cardiff Metropolitan University) and the New University of Ulster (later the University of Ulster). During the 1980s many polytechnics and universities began offering biomedical sciences degree programmes and Ulster, in 1985, introduced the first UK Masters programme in the discipline. This was followed by the development of a number of Masters programmes throughout the UK by the end of that decade. The growth of biomedical sciences undergraduate and postgraduate programmes was paralleled by the development of major strengths in biomedical sciences research, demonstrated by the outcomes of successive research assessment exercises, including successive 5* ratings for Ulster in 1996 and 2001.

The mission of HUCBMS is to promote the development and enhancement of biomedical sciences teaching and research. This includes:

• promoting national and international quality standards in biomedical sciences teaching and research;

• seeking to ensure that resources adequate to maintain quality standards are available to biomedical sciences schools and departments;

• providing benchmarks for biomedical sciences curricula;

• providing advice and guidance to biomedical sciences schools and departments;

• promoting the exchange of views, dissemination of information and collaboration between member institutions, nationally and internationally.

HUCBMS is affiliated to the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and is a Member Organisation of the Royal Society of Biology (RSB). It represents the interests of its member institutions (universities and colleges) at a national and international level.  Inter alia, it acts as a representative voice for the biomedical sciences and a source of advice, comment and analysis for relevant organisations.  This has involved close and sustained interaction with a number of external bodies including HEFCE and the other funding councils, research councils, Health and Care Professions Council, Quality Assurance Agency, the various departments responsible for health throughout the UK, charities, knowledge transfer agencies etc. In recent years HUCBMS has deliberately expanded its international support activities and this is now a perennial theme within its conferences.

HUCBMS has achieved much politically and professionally for the biomedical sciences academic community. However its greatest achievement has been in fostering a sense of solidarity and mutual support among its members, most notably through the annual HUCBMS conference which rotates around member institutions and allows for discussion and debate on major higher education and research policy issues.


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