The Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine (Departamento de Ciências Biomédicas e Medicina - DCBM) has been set up as a special unit in 2008, temporarily under the Vice-Chancellor´s Office (Reitoria), while the new medical degree is developed. The Department offers courses in Biomedical Sciences at undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels. There are recently established laboratories carrying out world class research in the field of regenerative medicine, focusing on stem cell biology and organogenesis, cancer cell biology and cell therapies. This is run by a team of 11 senior scientists, soon to increase to 18, who also tutor the medical students.
More interestingly, the medical degree course offered by the DCBM presents important innovative and unique characteristics. It is the first 4-year, graduate entry course in Europe outside the United Kingdom and Ireland, the curriculum is based on Problem Based Learning and it is the first programme in Europe to offer clinical training clearly centred on primary care practice. It truly represents a significant leap into the 21st Century for medical education in Portugal. The first batch of doctors (Masters in Medicine in Bologna parlance) is expected to graduate in July 2013. The medical course is a new “offspring” within the University of Algarve and, if properly nurtured, will firmly put the University in the world map of medical education.