Noonan launches award-winning medical school

GEMS Building UL 002by Martha Ewence

MINISTER for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, officially launched the award-winning Graduate Entry Medical School at the University of Limerick (UL).

The building, designed by Grafton Architects, was winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects (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 – easily distinguishable by its limestone exterior – is a stand-out addition to UL’s Clare Campus.

A 4,000 square metre 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.

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The €15mn 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 (GEMS) 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. GEMS doctors embrace modern scientific enquiry, life-long learning and, most of all, team-work with other healthcare professionals. These are the type of doctors we need, not only in Ireland, but around the world”.

The medical school continues to grow with construction commenced on a Clinical Education & Research Building on the campus of University Hospital Limerick. The building, a collaboration 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.