GlaxoSmithKline in £2.5m partnership agreement

Two science students looking at canonical flask

A highly successful partnership between the University of Strathclyde and GSK, a global healthcare company, has been extended significantly in an agreement worth more than £2.5million.

The award-winning collaborative programmes involve MPhil and PhD students working side-by-side with GSK scientists to develop and conduct novel research approaches to drug discovery and therapeutic treatments.

Since launching in 2009, this landmark Business-University partnership has supported both GSK employees and new graduates towards higher research degrees. The collaboration has included over 120 research students to date and has seen nearly 50 research papers published, 16 patents filed and eight students named inventors, in an outstanding contribution towards the UK health sector.

The partnership extension will see a total of 42 new PhD studentships created, 24 of which will be fully-funded industrial PhD studentships based at GSK, with secondments to Strathclyde. The programme model boasts appreciable translational knowledge exchange impact, whereby students will conduct research projects under the joint supervision of a senior scientist from GSK and the experienced academics from Strathclyde.

The new studentships will start each year from 2018 to 2020, inclusive. Additionally, and as part of this overall extension of support, Strathclyde will receive 12 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) iCASE Award students, with the University also providing six studentships.

To date, the total amount of funding from GSK to support this strategic collaboration exceeds £7million, with an additional £2.8million coming from EPSRC iCASE.

Strathclyde Programme Director, Professor Billy Kerr of the University’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry and Deputy Associate Principal for Research and Knowledge Exchange, said: “Since 2009 the GSK-Strathclyde programme has evolved into an expansive and flexible partnership, and has been transformative in opening up novel approaches to research collaborations, knowledge exchange, employer engagement, and personal advancement. The key principle behind the programme continues to be the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and experience between the two organisations, allowing us to work together to deliver internationally-leading research outputs and for the advancement of the sector.

“Collaboration with industry is at the heart of how we operate at Strathclyde, and the continued success of this partnership is a testament to the benefit it brings to both the University and the wider pharmaceutical industry.”

Dr Harry Kelly, Director of Chemistry Operations and GSK Programme Director, said: “This further extension to our collaborations with Strathclyde is driven by the mutual research benefits and career development opportunities for our talented graduate staff and other researchers associated with GSK. Additionally, this partnership has established a culture of academic rigour and enhanced scientific excellence within our wider laboratory teams.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “At Strathclyde, working side-by-side with business, industry and government is in the University’s DNA - and is central to our mission as a leading international technological university.

“This sector-leading partnership is having a positive impact not only for individual students, Strathclyde and GSK, but also for the wider health sector, supporting the delivery of the innovative therapies and treatments of tomorrow.”