SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals was awarded Pharma Research Centre of the Year and the Pharma Education and Training Award at the recent Pharma Industry Awards 2019. The awards recognise SSPC, a national research centre, led by the University of Limerick (UL) at the Bernal Institute, for its outstanding national and international industry-academia, inter-industry collaborations.

2018 was significant for SSPC as the Centre secured the outcome of their Phase II SFI Research Centre application with a total value of €61M. This phase will fund 68 investigators who will collectively support over 100 PhD students and over 80 Post-doctoral researcher years. SSPC published 164 journal articles, yielded over 30 highly skilled researchers and accumulated an additional €7.5M in funding revenue. SSPC has developed an existing international profile due to the quality of research outputs, and its people – 70% of SSPC graduates and participants now work in the pharmaceutical sector globally.

“SSPC have so many worthy highlights,” said Denise Croker, SSPC executive director. “To be recognised in both these categories this year is a great honour and represents our commitment to research excellence, advancing talent, societal engagement and global impact.”

“People are a central importance to making a research centre successful, as all the high-level outputs happen because of all the partners support and involvement.”

Another example of collaboration is the jointly developed Specialist Diploma in (Bio) Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs with SSPC, the Department of Chemical Sciences and School of Graduate and Professional Studies at UL. A course that has made a significant contribution to the pharmaceutical sector in Ireland through the provision of skilled regulatory professionals.

The rationale for the programmes development is aligning to the strong demand in recent years in Ireland for regulatory affairs (RA) professionals for the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry, according to Dr Sarah Hayes.

Niamh Lawler Turner, industry director/lecturer for the course said, “The demand for the course remains very high, as it provides a broader contextual understanding of the regulatory landscape through a combination of expertise lecturers from the regulatory authority, EU-based multinational pharmaceutical companies and professional body TOPRA.”

SSPC offers many benefits to industry partners from research activities, including the development of scientific and technological advances, a shift in emphasis for the Irish sites within their corporations, and advanced education and training of company employees. The Centre was also shortlisted for the Communications Award, SSPC’s PhD Industrial Placement Programme and the Partnership Alliance Award for the CCID project in collaboration with UL, Pfizer and Eli Lilly.

Since launching in 2014, the Pharma Industry Awards has established itself as the benchmark for excellence for those operating in Ireland's pharma industry. For the fourth year SSPC have been fortunate to win and this year marks the third consecutive year being awarded Pharma Research Centre of the Year.

SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals is hosted by the University of Limerick in partnership with University College Cork, National University of Galway, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Maynooth University and Waterford IT.

Niamh Lawler Turner, Industry Director/Lecturer Specialist Diploma in (Bio) Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs, University of Limerick and Denise Croker, SSPC Executive Director receiving the Pharma Education and Training Award at the Pharma Industry Awards 2019.