The new Life Sciences landscape: 5 UK leaders of higher education
Image courtesy of the University of Leeds

The Life Sciences sector touches all our lives, posing significant impacts on people all over the globe.

Each one of us has benefitted from the advancement of medicine, the discovery of new drugs, the understanding of disease, and the exponential development of knowledge that has been witnessed in the field over the last 100 years.

But while the world can be proud of past progression, it cannot be complacent about the future. The world of life sciences is forever-evolving and the planet needs dedicated experts and researchers to evolve along with it, always striving to find the latest cure, end a damaging disease, and also forge the way in cutting-edge life sciences technologies.


Universities are at the forefront of this mission, providing both the expertise and facilities needed to enable the discoverers of the future.

In the UK, you will be lucky to have access to a world-class life sciences sector, which looks to the future but also builds on an illustrious past of science and discovery.

Since the Government launched the last Life Sciences Strategy in 2011, the UK has secured over £7.5bn of inward investment in the sector, leading to the creation of 18,000 new jobs, and today, the nation boasts one of the strongest and most productive health and life sciences industries in the world.

Universities have reaped the benefits of this investment with research facilities and the range of courses on offer having never been better. Choosing the University that suits your passions in the field can be difficult. Those that want to effect change on the big picture problems of the world are looking to universities that prepare them with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to meet global demand.

Here are 5 universities working to prepare future pioneers…


Voted University of the Year by the Times’ Good University Guide 2017 and ranked 93rd in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2016-2017, the University of Leeds offers an all-round valuable experience that is truly second to none – and their outstanding student satisfaction levels are testament to that.

Image courtesy of the University of Leeds

At the Faculty of Biological Sciences, a memorable student experience is teamed with innovative, research-led teaching aimed at tackling the ‘grand challenge’ areas of translational biomedicine and sustainability.

The Faculty is split over three schools, including the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology which emphasises inter-disciplinary research. Through cutting-edge equipment and exceptional support, students conduct the pioneering work that helps us understand viral mechanisms behind human and animal disease.

Other Schools include Biology and Biomedical Sciences. All schools are closely linked to furthering understanding in medicine and health, and this is reflected in their broad range of courses, including Medical Biochemistry, Microbiology, Medical Sciences, Human Physiology, Genetics, and Neuroscience.

Many of the Faculty’s courses share a common first year programme, offering a broad foundation for students looking to enter the professional field. Second, third and fourth year programmes also incorporate specialist modules relevant to your respective subject of study. This unique modular structure presents students with the core elements and optional modules that allow them to tailor the course to their specific interests and future career plans.


Top-10-ranked by The Times, the School of Biosciences and Medicine at the University of Surrey believes in high-quality, relevant, research-informed learning that spurs graduates on to making the next big life-changing discoveries.

The School is split into four departments – Biochemical Sciences, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (DECM), Microbial Sciences, and Nutritional Sciences – and places a strong emphasis on research and testing, with an impressive 93 percent of their biosciences, health and veterinary research being rated world-leading or internationally-excellent in the latest UK Research Excellence Framework.

The DECM contains a clinical research facility and a clinical trials unit so students can have first-hand experience of conducting tests and the department can expand its knowledge in their areas of expertise – such as cancer, diabetes, and hepatology. SBM fully embraces the ‘bench-to-bedside’ concept and extends this to bedside-to-clinical-practice in pursuit of the next ground-breaking cure.


Image courtesy of the University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham has a rich century-old history of pushing forward the boundaries of knowledge that make an impact on people’s lives. Today, it prides itself on being one of the UK’s top research universities and aims to continue the tradition of creating grounded and enduring solutions to some of the world’s biggest issues.

Nowhere is this ambition better represented than in the School of Biosciences. Research centres around four interlinked groupings – BioSystems and Environmental Change, Microbiology and Infection, Molecules, Cells, Signalling and Health, and Plant Science – that focus on multi- and interdisciplinary research and respond to the key problems that face the world today.

The School has major high-technology facilities for research in genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, structural biology and optical imaging that make the hands-on learning experience for students so valuable.


SIPBS places at the centre of its curriculum the discovery, development and delivery of better medicines. They make a point of contributing to society through advanced research that enables viable drug discovery programmes and ensures the most effective and efficient use of medicines.

The School also works closely with business and industry to create innovative manufacturing and formulation of pharmaceuticals.

Their impressive research facilities reflect this world-changing goal, as SIPBS is home to the Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit that manufactures and prepares experimental anti-cancer drugs for clinical trials in the UK; the Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation, which works with industry partners to develop high-quality sustainable manufacturing methods of medicines; and the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, set up to bridge the gap between education and industry.

Courses include an integrated MPharm Pharmacy degree, fully accredited, as well as a wide range of courses in biomedical sciences.



The College of Life and Biomedical Sciences at Cardiff is all about innovation. Their state-of-the-art learning facilities ensure students are in the best possible environment to learn the skills needed to help tomorrow’s world.

Cardiff’s Clinical Innovation Partnership with the Vale University Health Board helps translate some of that valuable knowledge to real-life solutions, seeking to accelerate the translation of clinical innovation into improvements in health and clinical services.

The initiative gives students the opportunity to be in on the ground-floor of world-changing advancements in medicine. Past work includes the discovery of a new antibiotic resistant gene that changed global attitude and policy to monitoring and prevention, and creating new anti-viral and cancer drugs, to name just a few.

There is a hugely broad range of courses to choose from as the College is split into several schools covering the span of life sciences, including Biosciences, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Healthcare Sciences, among many more.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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