A new report from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has shown that the number of apprenticeships offered by pharmaceutical companies more than doubled in the two years between December 2013 and December 2015.
The report highlighted the growing number of collaborations and partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry and academic institutions – including the UK’s top universities – charities and the NHS.
Most of these apprenticeships are advanced (level 3) and high level (level 4+) apprenticeships with some apprentices working towards foundation and honours degrees.
The number of undergraduates on placement in pharmaceutical companies also increased by 42% over this period. The experience gained in placements supports new graduates in gaining the skills they need for future employment. More than 550 PhD students are also currently being supported by pharmaceutical companies and given the opportunity to gain industrial experience.
The report shows that a wide range of the UK’s universities are currently involved in collaborations with the pharmaceutical industry. This value placed on collaborative working by both industry and universities is helping to maintain the UK’s position at the leading edge of pharmaceutical research and development.
Loughborough University reports the highest number of overall undergraduate industrial placements as well as the highest number of undergraduate non-research and development (R&D) manufacturing placements, while the University of Bath provided the highest number of R&D placements.
The University of Strathclyde moved up from fourth position in 2013 to first place in 2015 with 75 collaborative PhD students with pharmaceutical companies, almost double that of second place University College London (UCL), with 42 collaborative PhD students.
The number of major collaborative projects and initiatives is growing rapidly as industry shifts towards long-term open partnerships.
Many of the innovative research projects are supported through EU funding, including those projects funded via the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), of which the UK is one of the main beneficiaries.