SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals now recognised internationally as a hub of process innovation and advanced manufacturing for the Pharmaceutical Sector, has demonstrated capabilities in the design and implementation of flow chemistry, asymmetric synthesis, fundamental and applied aspects of pharmaceutical crystallization, amorphous materials, continuous processing, novel pharmaceutical solid forms and emerging pharmaceutical technologies.

SSPC has a proven record of accomplishment in precompetitive multi-industry partnership projects and single partner projects, working with over 20 industry partners and ensuring the research is critically informed by the needs of the pharma end users. Increasing the Centre’s reputation globally, SSPC has now published over 400 peer reviewed high impact publications.

SSPC has created a consortium of industry and academic partners that has been the most inclusive and collaborative pharmaceutical/academic partnership in the world. The Centre exists as a link between scientists and engineers, within academia and industry in Ireland and globally, to address crucial research questions, that face the global pharmaceutical industry. A significant success of the SSPC is its unique collaboration with international academic institutions.

SSPC produces PhD graduates and post-doctoral researchers with specific disciplinary expertise, coupled with a broad understanding of cognate disciplines across pharmaceutical science and manufacturing. Building on our industry placement programme, the transition rate of SSPC researchers to industry currently stands at 70% in a global context, the highest of any research centre in Ireland.

Research Areas

The new funding phase (2019-will employ nine people directly and includes 68 academic investigators across nine partner institutions. The new advanced research programme covers the full scope of pharmaceutical R&D with the exception of the discovery of new chemical entities under five research themes themes (PharM5), Molecules, Materials, Medicines, Manufacturing and Modelling with leading academic experts.

  • Molecules I: New methodologies for the asymmetric synthesis of existing APIs & future drug candidates. Molecules II: Develop molecules & methods for automated & in flow generation of targeted drug hybrids. Molecules III: Rapid initial toxicity & biological efficacy testing: new chemical entities, combinations and formulations.
  • Materials: Advance our understanding of SCCMs & MCCMs in order to enable improved orally delivered drug products.
  • Medicines: Optimise the development, production & use of safe & effective medicines.
  • Manufacturing: Enabling a disruptive change in the manufacture of drug substances and drug products.
  • Modelling: New techniques to design and predict behaviour in silico in order to reduce trial-and-error experimentation.

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

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.

Industry And Commercialisation

  • Abbvie
  • Johnson & Johnson Automation Centre of Excellence 
  • Allergan
  • Amebis
  • Biomarin
  • Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Eirgen Pharma 
  • FMC 
  • Genzyme: A Sanofi Company 
  • Glantreo
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Janssen
  • Novartis
  • Roche
  • Rusal AAL 
  • 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 Contact Details

Prof Michael Zaworotko

Prof Gavin Walker

Denise Croker
Executive Director

Aisling Arthur
Industry Engagement Manager

Martin McHugh
Project and Public Engagement Office

Dermot Hayes
Programme Manager

Donal Killackey
EU Grants Manager

Dr Sarah Hayes
Academic and Public Engagement Manager

John Brennan
Business Development Manager

Louise O'Neill
Communications and Marketing Manager

Louise Laffan
Senior Administrator