Doctoral Training Centre in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Inst of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sci

Abstract

This proposal is to establish a Doctoral Training Centre embedded within the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation. The Centre tackles a core issue in the manufacture of fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals - an important sector for the UK - and has strong support from industry including major companies from
the Pharma sector (GSK, AstraZeneca, Novartis). We will enable manufacturers to shift their production processes from
traditional batch methods, which can be expensive, inefficient and limited in their control, to continuous methods that offer
solutions to each of these issues. The Centre can potentially make a huge impact on the UK's manufacturing efficiency in a
£multi-billion sector.
Although the EPSRC Centre does have a limited cohort of PhD students at the moment, there is no provision for 2012
onwards. As the largest of the current EPSRC Centres, achieving a critical mass of researchers across the core disciplines
is a key goal as we establish a world class research activity. It is also important for our industry partners that the UK can
meet their needs for trained people in this area and embed continuous processing in their manufacturing plants. We will
establish a unique and tailored training and research programme that meets these needs.
The proposed DTC will add an extra dimension to the EPSRC Centre, training 3 cohorts of PhD students with the skills,
knowledge and understanding to help meet the challenges of continuous manufacturing. Recruiting 45 students over 3
intakes in 2012/13/14 the DTC will mark a step change in activity in this field. We will attract the very best PGR students
and equip them to become future leaders who will be influential in implementing this transformational change. The
research will contribute to opportunites for new products that can be brought more quickly to market, using more reliable,
energy-efficient and profitable manufacturing routes.
The Centre inolves a multidisciplinary team across 7 universities who will contribute to the DTC including expertise in
pharmaceutical sciences, chemical engineering, chemistry, operations management and manufacturing. Thus, the
embedded DTC will provide students with a unique programme of training across disciplines, using a combination of
modules and research activities. . Students will register in a host institution and will follow a 1+3 year model. Year 1 will
comprise intensive formal training delivered in 10 residential courses across the universities, including transferable skills
and group project work, allowing the cohort to gain identity and build team spirit and fellowship. Elective specialist elements
will then develop knowledge in preparation for PhD research, along with exploratory cross-disciplinary mini-projects.
Assessment of modules and projects will be by a combination of presentations and reports. Years 2-4 will focus on
multidisciplinary, co-supervised PhD research projects, allowing the student to work with academics from across the
Centre. Further transferable skills training and cohort building activities will include an annual two-week Summer School,
and networking opportunities with other cohorts. The proposed DTC has captured the imagination of our industrial
collaborators with 5 additional companies having added their support to the creation of this DTC. In addition to substantial
cash contributions they are offering training, site visits, project input, mentoring and short-term industrial placements.
We will create a national community of highly skilled researchers in continuous manufacturing and crystallisation, building
the scale and quality of research to enhance the international reputation of our Centre and make a real difference to the
manufacture of high-value products, such as pharmaceuticals. The training of 45 high quality DTC PhD students will make
a major contribution towards this goal.

Planned Impact

This Doctoral Training Centre will offer the facilities to ensure the UK will have PhD level graduates with the academic
background and business awareness to make significant changes to current practices in the pharmaceutical, speciality
chemicals and related industries. The environment and opportunities created by the Centre and its association with the
national EPRSC centre on continuous manufacturing and crystallisation, offers an unparalleled opportunity for well-qualified
and dedicated people to engage with specific research topics designed and managed to deliver high quality specific
outputs for industry, and the wider scientific community. The training courses align with those in the national centre where
academics leading the research in the national centre will deliver a series of core and optional taught modules. Exposure to
an innovative and stimulating research environment is critically important to the development of excellence in research.
Our graduates will complete a comprehensive taught programme in topics covering underpinning chemistry and
engineering science which is at the heart of the national centre's operations. They will also be exposed to strategic
developments and innovations in operations management and in manufacturing suppoly chains that will drive the new
directions in business that will accompany the improvements to achieve the overall aims of the national centre. There will
be opportunites to the wider academic community through new collabroative opportunities as well as skilled researchers
emerging who can enable continuous technologies to be introduced into newresearch application areas.
In the longer term while the academic community will benefit from the students research in terms of academic output, it will
be the impact on industry bringing new products to market and ultimately wealth creation that will bring ultimate benefits to
society as a whole. There is potential to impact on healthcare through new, better, cheaper medicines from the enhanced
manufacturing capabilities arising from the researchers produced by the DTC. The research topics our graduates will work
in are aligned to the activities within the National EPSRC Centre with foundations in industry-derived challenges. Industry
will contribute to the vibrancy and relevance of the activities through training, mentoring and project support; in additional to
financial support.

Publications

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