Prestigious prize for collaboration between Strathclyde and GSK

Research leaders from the University of Strathclyde and pharmaceutical company GSK have been named the winners of a prestigious prize by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

The team has won the RSC’s Industry-Academia Collaboration Award, as part of a series of awards celebrating the most exciting chemical science taking place today.

The prize was awarded for the creation of a sustained partnership which has driven a culture of research and training excellence and created a flow of skilled personnel to enhance capabilities within the sector.

The collaborative framework sees both GSK employees and non-employee cohorts work towards an MPhil/PhD degree through active drug discovery and development projects within GSK or Strathclyde laboratories, with joint industry and academic supervision.

Professor William Kerr

On receiving the prize, Professor William J Kerr, Collaborative Programme Director, and Deputy Associate Principal (Research & Knowledge Exchange) at the University of Strathclyde said: “Collaboration with industry is at the heart of our operations at Strathclyde and we are both delighted and honoured that our Strathclyde-GlaxoSmithKline research degree programmes have been recognised as worthy of the RSC Industry-Academia Collaboration Award.

“The establishment of a rich array of pharma-aligned postgraduate students and associated research projects has resulted from a series of sustained and reciprocally beneficial relationships over a large number of years, where deep mutual trust has been established, alongside clear appreciation of the respective demands, drivers, and requirements of each partner.”

Professor Harry A Kelly, Collaborative Programme Director, GlaxoSmithKline said: “The significance and reach of the collaboration has gone well beyond the initial aims. This award is testament to the committed and talented research supervisors and students we have across the partnership, who vigorously employ two-directional knowledge exchange to maximise innovation and impact within GSK and all as related to the wider national and international healthcare sector.”

Dave Allen, Senior Vice-President and Chief Chemist, GlaxoSmithKline said: “These programmes have led to enhanced levels of project-relevant scientific knowledge, advanced thinking, and overall scientific rigour. The established collaborative framework has had a positive impact on and is now contributing extensively to overall organisational learning within GSK.”

RSC Chief Executive Dr Helen Pain said: “All of us have experienced tremendous challenges in the last year and the chemical sciences community has been integral to how the world has responded on a number of levels. From developing vaccines for COVID-19 to continuing to work towards a more sustainable world – the contribution of chemical scientists has never been more tangible or important.

“In a recent review of our recognition portfolio, we committed to ensuring that our prizes reflected the incredible diversity and excellence of chemistry being carried out today. The team’s work is a prime example of what we are so passionate about and we are proud to recognise their contribution with this prize.”

The Research and Innovation Prizes – of which the Industry-Academia Collaboration Award is one – celebrate brilliant individuals across industry and academia. They include prizes for those at different career stages in general chemistry and for those working in specific fields, as well as interdisciplinary prizes and prizes for those in specific roles.

The announcement of this Industry-Academia Collaboration Award coincides with another RSC award for Strathclyde – the Analytical Division mid-career Award, presented to Professor Karen Faulds, of the University’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

More than 50 winners of RSC prizes have gone on to become Nobel prizewinners, including 2019 Nobel laureate John B Goodenough.