From research centres to education companies specialising in biopharma, here are some resources you need to know to keep your knowledge fresh.
Doing your research and staying on top of industry trends are some of the best things you can do to set yourself up for success in biopharma. That’s according to Carl Bermingham, a bioprocessing training team lead with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT).
Bermingham was speaking to SiliconRepublic.com a few months ago about how best to break into the biopharma sector. Incidentally, NIBRT is one of the resources we are featuring on this list – and that goes for anyone at any stage of their biopharma career.
We’ll return to NIBRT shortly, but first back to Bermingham’s point about the importance of staying plugged into what’s happening in your industry. This is important for any sector, but it’s particularly relevant for health-adjacent industries, which are so future-focused.
All the resources on this list – not just NIBRT – are useful ones to be aware of if you want to be at the forefront of your game.
We started off with a mention of NIBRT so we may as well delve head-first into what it can offer. NIBRT’s online academy (NOA) bills itself as a “gateway to excellence” in biopharma training. It provides on-demand training sessions delivered by industry-recognised educators. Its material is designed to cater to a wide range of teams and their needs. Topics include cell and gene therapy, aseptic manufacturing, vaccine manufacturing, quality risk management, upstream and downstream processing and general lab skills and trends courses.
While a lot of NIBRT’s courses are not free, there are some free sessions. Overall there are more than 60 courses on the academy and more than 5,000 learners enrolled.
Skillpad is a life sciences e-learning library with more than 130 modules on its platform. For companies who want to use its learning management system features, it offers customiseable learning plans in multiple languages.
Its courses show real-life scenarios using 3D equipment visualisation. Learners are also assessed at various stages to check that the information they are learning is being retained. Topics are divided into several main categories such as API manufacturing, data integrity, laboratory and packaging.
Among its most recently added modules are a course on aseptic processing and a course on contamination control strategy.
The Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals – also known as SSPC – runs numerous education and outreach activities. Go to the ‘education’ section of its website if you want to find out about what some of Ireland’s most promising researchers are working on in pharma. You’ll find videos featuring interviews with scientists as well as links to papers and book chapters by scientists. The videos, in particular, are a nice way of keeping up to date with what’s going on.
SSPC has webinars, too, for those with a bit more time on their hands. These are accessible on-demand and feature researchers from Irish universities discussing topics from synthetic peptides to the molecular design of next-generation APIs.
Dublin-based company Innopharma Education provides third-level qualifications to those in the pharma, medtech and food science industries. Courses range from micro-credential short courses to Springboard and other HCI-funded programmes thanks to its partnerships with these providers. Delivery is online but there are also some face-to-face sessions depending on the course.
Among the biopharma options on the site at the moment are a nine-month certificate in pharmaceuticals and medical devices operations, an 11-month BSc in process technologies and a five-month certificate in supply chain. All are due to commence in January 2024.
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre
Hosted by University of Limerick, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre (PMTC) is funded by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. Its collaboration between academia and industry means it is a very good one to keep an eye on for pharma developments in Ireland.
It has information on everything from research funding models to industry trends and specialist conferences and events. Keep an eye on its news section for word on training events which it signposts regularly.
PDA Training is the training and education arm of the Parenteral Drug Association, an international organisation that provides information on regulatory and scientific standards. The PDA has its own chapter in Ireland which runs regular events.
On the PDA Training site, you’ll find courses on topics such as aseptic processing, compounding, environmental monitoring, sterilisation and visual inspection. Not all course content is on-demand or online, but you’ll generally find helpful information on upcoming learning opportunities that might suit you.
Irish Medtech Association
The Irish Medtech Association is a part of the Irish business network, Ibec. It has more than 250 members and works with everyone from SMEs to multinational biopharma players.
The association promotes and runs a lot of education and upskilling initiatives – a no-brainer, as a good selection of courses means companies have access to a pipeline of skilled workers. It has links to the Higher Education Authority to promote Springboard courses and apprenticeship programmes. It also works with Skillnet to promote its courses.
Another reason the Irish Medtech Association is a good resource is because it organises regular events that gather people from the sector to share their work and learn from each other. The next big event on the calendar is the Medtech Rising 2023 conference, which will be held in Galway on 7 December.
BioPharmaChem Skillnet offers lots of different courses for biopharma workers looking to brush up on their skills. It’s an enterprise-led resource, meaning the courses are designed to address current skills needs in the sector.
Programmes include a Level 7 certificate in operator development, a Level 6 course in supervisory management and a higher diploma in science in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.
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