Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, officially launched the award-winning Graduate Entry Medical School at the University of Limerick. The Building was designed by Grafton Architects, and was the winner of RIBA 2013 EU Award and a finalist in the highly prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize. Located beside the existing Health Sciences and Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, the Medical School is easily distinguishable by its limestone exterior and is a stand-out addition to UL’s Clare Campus.
A 4,000 sq.m. facility, the building houses 12 Problem-Based Learning teaching rooms, a 150-seat lecture theatre, two 60-seater seminar rooms, 75 IT work stations, eight clinical skills laboratories, two anatomical skills laboratories, an area dedicated to research and a cafeteria. The labs are equipped with a state-of-the-art AV system, which allows students to record themselves performing procedural or physical exam skills. The €15million project was funded by the Department of Education & Skills, the Higher Education Authority and supported by the University of Limerick Foundation.
Speaking from the official launch event UL President Professor Don Barry said: “We are immensely proud of the achievements of our Graduate Entry Medical School since its inception in 2007. GEMS offers a medical degree programme which is open to graduates from any discipline and is strongly supported by access scholarships. Through innovative teaching practices and applying a problem-based learning approach to instruction, in just 4 years compared to the 5 or 6 years of traditional medical schools, the GEMS has proven its ability to graduate doctors who are competent, confident and caring. They understand the scientific basis of medicine, recognise the social and environmental contexts in which health and illness exist and have special skills in, and commitment to, service to the public. GEMS doctors embrace modern scientific enquiry, life-long learning and, most of all, team-working with other healthcare professionals. These are the type of doctors we need, not only in Ireland, but around the world”.
The UL Graduate Entry Medical School has been described by RIBA as “an exceptional example of how to create a vibrant new public space through the careful design and placement of buildings”.
The Graduate Entry Medical School continues to grow with construction commenced on a Clinical Education & Research Building on the campus of University Hospital Limerick. The building, which is a joint venture between UL and the HSE, will enhance the delivery of UL’s medical programme and the implementation of the University’s health research strategy which aims to inform an equitable, safe, sustainable and patient-centred healthcare system.