23/08/2021

Ulster University Opens New School Of Medicine

Ulster University has opened a new School of Medicine.

The newly refurbished building welcomed its first 70 students.

The first cohort to enter the first graduate entry medical school in Northern Ireland is made up of students with a wide range of related and non-scientific/healthcare backgrounds from politics to investment banking, radiography, management consultancy, optometry, forensic science, nursing and even a previous lecturer in Irish at Magee.

Over the past 12 months, Ulster University's Estates Services' team has worked alongside its design team led by architects McAdam Design and contractors, P & K McKaigue Ltd (from Maghera) to bring this important project to fruition.

They have collectively worked to transform a listed historic building into a state-of-the-art learning environment. After a £1m investment in the refurbishment, the School of Medicine boasts high-tech, high-spec facilities which will enable the School staff to nurture Northern Ireland's future doctors in the heart of the communities they will serve.

Following the re-modelling, the interior space, (1530 sq metres in size) now boasts an anatomy laboratory which will feature equipment such as anatomage tables and hand-held Ultrasound imaging devices; four clinical and communications skills teaching rooms, eight problem-based learning rooms, as well as hub spaces for collaborative and individual study, relaxation and socializing.

Once a Professor's residence, 3 & 4 College Avenue dates back to the 1880s when the campus was known as Magee College. Today, the revamped building looks out onto the newly enhanced public realm, refurbished Library and an innovative teaching block which was opened in 2018.

As part of the plan for the expansion of the Magee campus, a permanent home for the School of Medicine will be located on the riverfront, on the Strand Road in the years to come. It will act as a catalyst for an innovation corridor stretching out to Fort George.
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Professor Louise Dubras, Foundation Dean at the School of Medicine, Ulster University said: "I'm so excited to greet our new students on this momentous day which I have looked forward to for years. I hope that the School, the University and the City itself will encourage a sense of belonging and pride in our region’s future doctors.

"I am very proud of our new School of Medicine which in itself marks the continued transformation of the Magee campus into a hub for Health and Innovation, as a pre-emptive part of the Derry and Strabane City Deal. Medical schools are sometimes located in a hospital setting but I want our students to learn near the city's GPs and the population they will go on to care for. The School of Medicine will act as their home, a welcoming place, for the future doctors who are embarking on a challenging yet hugely rewarding journey with us."

First Minster Paul Givan said: "I am delighted to be here today for the opening of the Ulster University School of Medicine. This is a momentous day, not just for Ulster University and the students who will study here at the Magee Campus, but for Londonderry and the whole of Northern Ireland.

"It has taken an immense collective effort from a variety of partners across government, academia, medicine and beyond to get us to this point, and I commend all those who played their part to ensure this ambitious project came to fruition.

"Of course it is the students who are the most important part of this celebration, and I wish each one of them every success as they set out on the next stage of their educational journey towards a career in medicine."

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said: "This is a landmark day for Derry and the whole of the North West. The opening of Ulster University School of Medicine will attract students from far and wide to study at Magee, providing a significant boost to the local economy and greatly benefiting the wider health service.

"I commend all those who have worked tirelessly to secure this transformative investment, which is another significant and welcome step towards the regeneration of the North West.

"I wish all the new medical school entrants the very best with their studies and every success in their future careers."

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