A leading medical college has joined forces with NHS Highland (NHSH) to establish a new Surgical Education Research and Innovation Lab (SERI Lab), marking a significant leap forward in research of surgical education and innovation.
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and NHSH have formed a five-year partnership to co-host the virtual SERI Lab, set to become an internationally renowned hub for Surgical Education Research and Innovation.
Set to launch in the new year, the lab, will be used for healthcare professionals to share and develop new ideas and methods to help surgeons learn and practice.
Professor Rowan Parks, President of RCSEd, said it will allow surgical professionals to research advancements in surgical training technology such as robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, all of which will help to shape the next 30 years of surgical practice.
Professor Parks explained: "The establishment of the SERI Lab is a pivotal moment for surgical education and research, and this new, dynamic hub is set to have far-reaching impact—locally, nationally, and globally.
“The virtual hub will support research fellows who can be geographically based anywhere, with space also being made available in the College or in NHS Highland.
“Most research done in the UK right now is laboratory-based, clinical trials and patient-oriented, but there is relatively little education research.
“We want to be the lead in this area and take forward education-based research and innovation, and that includes training using simulation, robotics and AI based technologies.”
Its launch will be spearheaded by RCSEd Council Member and Consultant Surgeon Professor Angus Watson, and its mission will be to create programmes and tools that can improve surgical training, not only in the UK but around the world.
Professor Watson commented: “This collaborative initiative between RCSEd and NHS Highland demonstrates our commitment to advancing the field and providing cutting-edge training methods for surgeons globally.”
The strategic partnership aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice in surgical education, fostering a community approach and establishing a Fellows' Boot Camp.
Channelled through RCSEd, the Boot Camp will involve intensive training ‘retreats’ that will allow mentors and selected research fellows to come together and participate in accelerated learning projects.
David Tolley, Past President and Chair of the Pilmuir Trust, which has helped fund the new hub, said: “Over the past 12 years, NHSH has been a key player in developing the SERI Lab, a unique concept among surgical colleges, which will be primarily based in the Highland Academic Surgical Unit (HASU).
“The ground-breaking new SERI Lab will be a place where new ideas flourish, helping to improve patient safety outcomes and ensuring more positive ways for surgical trainees to learn and practice.”
Overseeing the SERI Lab will be two recently appointed RCSEd Chairs, Ken Walker, as Professor of Surgical Education & Innovation, and Jennifer Cleland, as Professor of Surgical Education Research, both recognised as distinguished leaders in the field of education and research.
Speaking of the new appointment, Professor Walker said: "I am honoured to take on this role and contribute to advancing surgical education. This collaboration with NHS Highland marks a significant step towards improving training methodologies for surgeons worldwide."
Professor Jennifer Cleland, Professor and Director of Med Ed Research & Scholarship, also commented: “Collaborating with NHS Highland and RCSEd presents a unique opportunity to influence the future of surgical education, and I am eager to contribute to the success of the SERI Lab.”
The virtual hub has been funded for the next three years, with a long-term vision for groups to help shape policy in how surgical training should be carried in the UK, whether that be developing curriculum, the use of simulation, and other technologies that can be used by the next generation of talented surgeons.
Dr Beth Sage, Director of Research, Development and Innovation for NHS Highland said: “NHS Highland has a successful track record supporting high impact research and innovation, and the launch of the SERI Lab demonstrates our commitment to extending this to advancing UK surgical education, both locally and nationwide.”
About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh:
- RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505 and is based in Edinburgh and Birmingham.
- It is one of the oldest surgical corporations in the world with a worldwide membership of almost 32,000, which includes 15,000 members in the UK.
- The College also has a significant global presence with members in over 100 countries worldwide.
- The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce.
- It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation.
- Find RCSEd at www.rcsed.ac.uk, on Twitter, on Facebook, and Instagram.