SSPC to partner with Schools of Pharmacy in the UK

SSPC, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Pharmaceutical Research Centre, hosted by UL, has won new funding under the EPSRC-SFI Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) Partnership programme.

Announced by Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, an investment of approximately €39 million to support the involvement of SFI Research Centres in seven new joint Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs). The awards have been made under a new partnership between Science Foundation Ireland and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The funding, secured from SFI, will enable the SSPC to engage with two of the world leading Schools of Pharmacy in the UK, at the University of Nottingham and University College London, in a new CDT in Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will fund the UK component of the CDT, with partners in industry adding to the overall investment.

The CDT, which will be led by Dr Snjezana Stolnik-Trenkic in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, will equip 75 doctoral scientists to drive innovation in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, by designing and developing new medicines.

The SSPC component of the partnership will be led by Professor Anne Marie Healy, Professor in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, and Co-Principal Investigator at the SSPC.

Commenting on the funding announcement, Prof. Healy said: “Engagement in this CDT will be extremely beneficial, as it will connect the SSPC and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity College to a key research cluster in the UK, involving leaders in the fields of formulation and pharmaceutical technology in both academia and industry. This partnership will enhance the international visibility of our research and enrich the training and development of a large number of PhD students - the research leaders of the future”.

The CDT, which is aligned with the Irish National Research Priority Areas of Therapeutics and Advanced and Smart Manufacturing has a particular focus on formulation science and advanced drug delivery. The CDT will address the challenges associated with the formulation and delivery of powerful new therapeutic molecules arising from advances in drug discovery and biotechnology. Such complex molecules have the potential to redefine treatments of degenerative, genetic and autoimmune diseases, or cancer, provided appropriate solutions to their formulation and delivery can be found.

The funding will create 15 new PhD positions in Ireland, the first of which will commence later this year. The SSPC is committed to training industry-relevant graduates and will support the CDT researchers through the SSPC structured PhD programme, which comprises credit-bearing, assessment-based modules, as well as employment-relevant transferable skills training, industrial placements, and entrepreneurship and innovation programmes.