HEE holds MSc Genomic Medicine information day

Event attended by more than 50 delegates from higher education institutions

This week, Health Education England’s Genomics Education Programme welcomed representatives from higher education institutions (HEIs) across the UK for its open information day.

The guests, who rapidly filled the Piccadilly Room on the 27th floor of Portland House in London, came to hear about the forthcoming Master’s programme in Genomic Medicine, in advance of the invitation to tender, due in October.

Impressive views of Buckingham Palace and the capital’s skyline did not distract from the matter at hand: a full house of more than 50 delegates turned their attention to the day’s speakers: chief scientific officer Prof Sue Hill OBE, Genomics England director of public health Dr Tom Fowler, Genomics Education Programme’s scientific adviser Val Davison, and Health Education West Midlands’ head of education and quality Anne Gilford.

100,000 Genomes Project

After a warm welcome from Prof Hill, Dr Tom Fowler gave the assembled guests an insight into the background and context of Genomics England and the 100,000 Genomes Project. He first summarised some of the wider contexts around the project’s primary focus: to sequence 100,000 genomes in patients with rare inherited diseases, cancer and infectious diseases. There are three phases of the project, due to complete in 2017, and outlined the infrastructure surrounding it. Finally, Dr Fowler described how the results of the genome sequencing would be presented in a clinical setting: in a format that is “simple, accessible and meaningful for patients”.

Genomics Education Programme

Next to speak was Prof Sue Hill, with an overview of the Genomics Education Programme. The Programme has been set up by Health Education England to support the work of the 100,000 Genomes Project, while helping to secure its legacy by educating and training NHS staff in genomic advances. Prof Hill outlined the aims, structure and strategy of the Programme, and some of the achievements so far. The MSc will be supported by initiatives such as a partnership with Genomics England’s Clinical Interpretation Partnership Training Embassy, and a network of ‘genomics leads’ among HEE’s local education and training boards to generate interest in the MSc among healthcare staff.

The Master’s curriculum

Val Davison followed, outlining the development work that went into preparing the MSc curriculum, as well as some of the logistical considerations. The Master’s programme will be awarded to up to 6-8 HEIs, with a geographical spread that meets the needs of NHS England’s workforce. Successful HEIs will demonstrate excellence in research and teaching in this area, and deliver the programme flexibly, with full-time and part-time blended learning options, as well as CPD modules that can lead to PGCert or PGDip. Mrs Davison then outlined the programme structure and the core and optional modules, before focusing on some of the learning outcomes that have been developed.

The procurement process

Finally, Anne Gilford gave a concise overview of the MSc tendering process, detailing the proposed cohort size, funding model, and tender timeline. The outcome for successful HEIs will be the achievement of ‘preferred provider’ status, with at least one successful bidder ready to deliver a cohort by March 2015. Finally, Ms Gilford outlined the publicity and tender release, and introduced the chosen procurement portal.

Questions and answers

The session concluded with questions from the floor. It was a lively portion to the day, with some common themes emerging. You can read through these in our FAQs.

The event closed with a networking lunch, and a final opportunity to take in those magnificent views.

To find out more about the Master’s programme, see our MSc in Genomic Medicine pages. If you have any further questions relating to the MSc, or the Genomics Education Programme in general, please email the team.