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The Genomics Policy Unit (GPU) is one of the longest established research groups in the UK studying the implications of genetics and genomics for health. USW is the primary academic institution in the UK working in this specific area

Since 1996 researchers have undertaken programmes of innovative research around the effect of genomic technologies on healthcare, particularly in relation to health professionals and the public. 

The GPU has made a significant contribution to the development of policy and practice in genomics at national and international level with pioneering work in the fields of public engagement and training of health professionals (particularly nurses and midwives).

Our aim is to make a significant contribution to professional preparation, public education, and ultimately to improvements in care through the use of genomics. We are doing this through our research, by generating new knowledge and applying that knowledge to policy developments in health and education, and through building health workforce capacity and leadership.

Research themes

We have expertise in a number of areas including consensus techniques; development of competence frameworks and maturity matrix based assessment tools; the collection and use of patient/personal narrative; and the use of innovative approaches to work with hard-to-reach groups, in particular young-people. 

The GPU has two main strands of enquiry:

  • Health professional education, competence and workforce development

  • Public understanding of genetics/genomics

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Key projects

See all genomics research and projects


The GPU works in collaboration with many individuals and organisations across the UK and overseas on research and education initiatives including Genomics Partnership Wales and the Genomics Education Programme at Health Education England in the UK, and internationally with colleagues at the Global Genomics Nursing Alliance (G2NA) and the International Society of Nursing in Genetics (ISONG).

Contact us

If you would like to work with the Genomics Policy Unit, please contact Dr Emma Tonkin.

Dr Emma Tonkin, Genomics Policy Unit

Study with us

We welcome applications for self-funded PhD or Masters by Research study in one of our areas of expertise. You can study full or part time, on campus or remotely.