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Unique new partnership degree

01 October 2007

The Welsh School of Pharmacy has responded to demand for health economists in Germany with the creation of a unique new partnership degree.

The MSc in International Pharmoeconomics and Health Economics is offered jointly by the School’s Centre for Socioeconomic Research and the Europa Fachhochschule Fresenius (EFF), a University of Applied Sciences, based at Idstein, Germany. The programme will be entirely delivered in Germany but jointly taught by the two Universities – the first such arrangement in Cardiff’s history.

The course combines practically-oriented economic competence with an understanding of the health, medical and pharmaceutical fields at the international level. One unique feature is a semester-long practical placement with a private or government health organisation. The programme will offer excellent career prospects in health care organisations, medical insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and academic research.

The first students enrol at Idstein in October and the partnership between the two Universities was sealed with a signing ceremony at Cardiff University. In front of colleagues from both Universities, Cardiff’s Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant and EFF President Hans-Jörg Bähr signed and exchanged copies of the agreement document.

Dr Grant said the programme would benefit both institutions and also the health institutions which will in time employ the MSc students. He added: "This is the first such programme in the University and we are looking at it as a model, to see whether we can deliver this kind of course in other areas as well."

Mr Bähr said EFF hoped to benefit from the work of Professor Sam Salek and the Centre for Socioeconomic Research in the field of health economics, which is less developed in Germany. He added that the course was already attracting wide interest in Germany and has full support of the Federal State of Hessen’s Ministry of Education.

The four-semester programme will be taught entirely in English and will also use the expertise of lecturers from around the world who are active in the pharmaceutical and health sciences.

Professor Salek, Director of the Centre for Socioeconomic Research, said: "We are very excited to be working with Europa Fachhochschule Fresenius (EFF). The German healthcare system is undergoing some profound changes and faces some difficult challenges. We hope that the new MSc, drawing on our Centre’s expertise and track record, will provide a new generation of health professionals who can help meet those challenges."

Professor Salek added that the Welsh School of Pharmacy is confident in EFF’s commitment to quality and looks forward to working with the EFF Faculty of Economics and Media under the leadership of Professor Gudrun Neises.