Strathclyde & GlaxoSmithKline

Who's involved?

The University of Strathclyde and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.

What's involved?

MPhil and PhD programmes to provide GSK chemists with an environment of continuous professional development. The programmes aim to better equip chemists with the skills to develop even greater scientific excellence.

Why the approach?

The success of GSK is dependent on having the highest quality chemists to design, develop and deliver transformational medicines that meet the needs of patients and the expectations of stakeholders. The approach to the team at Strathclyde, coupled with other initiatives within GSK, aims to contribute to the company’s ongoing success.

Why Strathclyde?

We have an ongoing knowledge exchange partnership with GSK. Having maintained an effective partnership at undergraduate and postgraduate level, the new initiative aims to build on previous successful collaborations.

Professor William Kerr, University of Strathclyde, said:

We have strong, mutually beneficial links with industry and the GSK programme is an ideal example of this. It’s an effective model for investing in personnel and is already generating positive returns for GSK and their people.

How we helped

Working closely with GSK to fully understand each other’s requirements and expectations, our Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry built a framework for collaborative MPhil and PhD programmes.

The team also incorporated the existing work-based learning programmes within GSK to provide the taught element for the MPhil or PhD qualification.

Research projects are now conducted within GSK laboratories with an Industrial (GSK) Supervisor and academic supervisors from Strathclyde. GSK employees are also integrated within Strathclyde’s initiatives and participate in problem solving sessions, research meetings and symposia associated with the University.

Dave Allen, Senior Vice-President of Respiratory Drug Discovery, GSK, said:

GSK chemists will be exposed to alternative research strategies…and we will have motivated chemists striving for greater scientific excellence in their research.

Successful outcomes

  • as a result of early success, the programme has now been extended for GSK scientists in the scientific discipline of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) and is currently being evaluated for other areas, such as analytical chemistry
  • the number of candidates receiving the GSK Exceptional Science Awards - given for outstanding contributions to research projects - has doubled in recent years
  • one of the GSK chemists was designated as most meritous runner-up of the 2011 EFMC Prize for a Young Medicinal Chemist in Industry. This prestigious prize acknowledges and recognises an outstanding young medicinal chemist working in industry within Europe
  • the success of the partnership has been recognised by the Life Sciences Cross Party Group of the Scottish Parliament and has been endorsed by a Scottish Parliamentary motion