Funding Awarded for Research into Widening Access to Medical Schools

Monday 16 May 2022

The School of Medicine is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and vibrant student community, where students come from a range of backgrounds, and no student with potential is disadvantaged by social or economic barriers. As part of this commitment, and in line with other Scottish universities, St Andrews use a contextualised admissions process to ensure we offer a fair and transparent admissions process to all applicants, regardless of background.

The School of Medicine has been successful in securing two funding awards which will allow us to analyse our current admissions processes to further enhance our understanding of widening access to Medicine in Scotland, the impact of contextualised admissions policies, and the potential barriers faced by disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. We will use this information to highlight good practice and recommend changes to further strengthen admissions processes if required.

Scottish Medical Education Research Consortium (SMERC) Funding

A consortium of four universities, lead by the University of Edinburgh, and including the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews, were successful in seeking funding for a project entitled Exploring approaches to Widening Participation at four Scottish medical schools from the Scottish Medical Education Research Consortium (SMERC).

Pamela Dobson will represent St Andrews’ School of Medicine on this research group, whose research aims to give a better understanding of approaches to widening participation in admissions, which will in turn allow each institution to take an evidence-informed approach of how to improve their admissions procedures, drawing on best practice from across Scotland.

The group began their research in February 2022 and aim to publish their findings in February 2023.

Northwood Charitable Trust Funding

Professor Lindsey Kent, Dr Anita Laidlaw, Dr John Winpenny, and Mrs Pamela Dobson have also found success in a funding proposal entitled Widening Access to Medicine at the University of St Andrews; An Analysis of the Impact of Contextualised Admissions Policies and Student Achievement.

Funding has been awarded by the Northwood Charitable Trust to the Medical School to conduct research into a study into the impact of contextualised admissions policies on academic attainment and progression of medical students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds. The study will determine which policies are having a positive impact and recommend changes to further strengthen these areas if required, ensuring equity of access and success for those from the most deprived backgrounds in line with key Government targets and policies.

The study will culminate in a written report, which we aim to publish in 2023.

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