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SSPC - Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC)

The Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC), a global hub of pharmaceutical process innovation and advanced manufacturing, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and industry, is a unique collaboration between 24 industry partners, nine research performing organisations, and 12 international academic collaborators.
With €42 million in direct funding and a further €39 million leverage, SSPC supports a community of over 350 individual national and international active members, including 29 Investigators, 40 post-doctoral researchers and 60 PhD candidates. The SSPC leads the way for next generation drug manufacture and spans the entire pharmaceutical production chain from synthesis of the molecule, to the isolation of the material, and formulation of the medicine.

Research Areas

  • Strand 1: New Frontiers in Pharmaceutical Synthesis
  • Strand 2: Crystal Growth and Design
  • Strand 3: Drug Product Formulation and Manufacture

Research Programmes

The SSPC community of 132 researchers is involved in 20 research projects. Recent collaborative projects include:

  • An SFI-funded SPOKES project MOMEnTUM (Modelling of Multi-Phase Transport Processes to Enable Automation in Manufacturing), a collaboration between SSPC and industry partners Johnson & Johnson Automation Centre of Excellence and Rusal AAL
  • An SFI funded US-Ireland R&D partnership and first of its kind “Centre to Centre” project to research continuous manufacturing for nano-based pharmaceutical drugs. (International collaboration)
  • Advanced biopharmaceutical technologies. SSPC works with seven industry partners and three research-performing organisations

Research Performing Organisations

Industry and commercialisation

SSPC works with 24 industry partners to deliver relevant solutions that address the manufacturing needs of pharmaceutical companies. At a corporate level, SSPC industry partners recognise the power of the collective and can facilitate unique collaborations. APC Ltd., a SSPC spin-out company, has created over 40 highly skilled jobs within the pharmaceutical sector.

SSPC’s Dr Patrick Frawley and Dr Brian de Souza, worked with Pfizer Global Process Development Centre, discovering a new commercial process to deliver an innovative, improved manufacturing process for a world leading medicine.

Industry partners include:

 Abbvie Clarochem  Janssen 
Johnson & Johnson Automation Centre of Excellence  Eirgen Pharma  Merck Sharp & Dohme 
 Alkermes Eli Lilly  Novartis 
Allergan  FMC  Pfizer Inc 
Amebis  Genzyme: A Sanofi Company  Roche 
APC Limited  Glantreo  Rusal AAL 
Biomarin  GlaxoSmithKline  Scale-Up Systems 
Bristol Myers Squibb  Innopharma Labs  UCB Pharma 


  • Kilo labs
  • In-situ PAT systems
  • Labmax TM reaction vessel
  • Particle visual measurement (PVM)
  • X-ray diffraction (XRD)
  • Focused ion beam (FIB) milling system
  • Atomic force microscope (AFM)
  • SEM/Raman spectroscopy
  • SEM & TEM microscopy
  • Molecular and Engineering modelling
  • Powder extrusion suite
  • Hot melt extrusion
  • Supercritical spray drying
  • Flow NMR
  • IR spectroscopy
  • Environmental SEM
  • In situ Raman microscopy
  • Crystallization, Isolation and Drying Technology Test Bed (CIDT2)

Education and Public Engagement

SSPC in collaboration with Science Foundation Ireland, is involved in many local and national events including Science Week, National Ploughing Festival, SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition, chemistry demonstration workshops and more. SSPC provides professional development training to teachers and connects post-primary students with access to scientists via the Smart Futures programme. SSPC actively supports industry partners and their research associates through industry focused upskilling and training. SSPC also provides an industrial placement programme for PhD candidates.

Key Contacts

Prof Kieran Hodnett - Scientific Director
Kieran Hodnett is Professor of Chemical and Environmental Science and the former Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Limerick. His current research interests are polymorphism in pharmaceutical compounds and active pharmaceutical crystallisation into excipient matrices. He has produced more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles, which have over 2,800 ISI citations, and has supervised 30 PhD students to completion.

Jon O’Halloran - General Manager

Aisling Arthur - Spokes Project Manager

Dr Kristy Butler - Reporting and Compliance Officer

Dr Joanne Conroy - Industrial Liaison Officer

Donald McDonagh - Funding Manager

Louise O'Neill - Communications Officer

Dr Sarah Hayes - Education and Outreach Officer

Rosaleen Archbold - Senior Administrator

Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre
Bernal Institute
University of Limerick

+353 (0)61 234629
Instagram: sspccommunications

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