A word from our Interim FVP – June 2021

You will see in this month’s “Celebrating Excellence” section that there is a huge amount of exciting work going on right across the Faculty. It is wonderful to see that Dr Thushan de Silva’s outstanding personal contribution to Covid-19 research has been recognised in The Queen’s Birthday Honours. I’d like to extend my personal congratulations to Thushan, and also to the wider team of University and NHS colleagues who have been involved in this work. The publication of studies from Dr Catriona Mayland (O&M) on bereavement during Covid-19 and Professor Steve Goodacre (ScHARR) show the breadth of our research contribution to Covid-19, not only on the disease itself, but also on its wider societal impacts. Our Covid research has contributed to our research applications and awards being at their highest for five years, despite the pandemic.

I am very happy to say that, just this week, we have acquired the first successful FDG PET-MR images from a study subject at our new Sheffield PET-MRI Facility. This is a huge achievement that has involved a massive effort from start to finish from University of Sheffield and NHS colleagues working in collaboration – we salute all those involved in fundraising for the facility and making it operational in these extremely challenging times. My thanks and congratulations to all of you. 

Across the Faculty, we are also reaching the end of the teaching year for undergraduate students. It has been an extremely challenging year for all of our departments, and it has been wonderful to see our final year students passing their exams and qualifying in the normal timeframes, despite all of the upheaval faced by departments. Staff in all departments have moved mountains to move teaching online and deliver clinical skills and placements in different ways. Our Dental School has seen some of the greatest impacts, due to the risk of transmission of the disease via aerosols. The team have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to provide safely the clinical time that BDS students need to qualify, including extending the teaching day for much of the year. A recent visit from the General Dental Council confirmed that all the right steps had been put in place to ensure that students could qualify on time. A huge thanks to the Dental School team and all of those who teach and support our students right across the Faculty. 

We also continue to develop new programmes. Following a recent visit from the Nursing and Midwifery Council, we have been able to open a new MSc in Midwifery to applicants for a September 2021 start, and will also be offering a new Advanced Clinical Practice Programme in Paediatric Ophthalmology.

These developments and successes are only possible due to the huge contribution made by staff right across the Faculty and I thank you for everything that you continue to do.

We continue to see more staff coming back onto campus for research, teaching and supervision and I would continue to encourage you to keep abreast of the latest guidance for staff.

With very best wishes,