The National Graduate Enhancement Programme (NGEP) in (Bio)Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences (BPS) is a cross-institutional research and education programme under the leadership of the UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences. This initiative is funded by the HEA's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI), Cycle 4 and the European Regional Development Fund . The BPS complements the research and training programmes of the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training ( NIBRT ) that was established in 2005 on the UCD campus in partnership with DCU, Sligo-IT and TCD.
UCD provides the administrative lead on the BPS and joins DCU, the RCSI, TCD, UCC and QUB in this collaborative programme.
The NGEP will form a HEI academic-led 'biopharmaceutics corridor' from Belfast to Cork wherein lies in excess of 80% of Ireland's (bio)pharmaceutical companies. The consortium will harness unique and complementary expertise and facilities to provide a national research training programme for graduates in the area of (bio)pharmaceutical sciences to prepare them for a career in therapeutics (biologicals and small molecule drug discovery). The programme also lays the foundation for development of a skills base to attract research investment by the pharmaceutical industry beyond the current focus in manufacturing and bioprocessing. The infrastructural funding through PRTLI-4 will establish a flexible national training research graduate programme based within the university sector.
PhD Students under the programme pursue postgraduate studies in the area of (Bio)pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences: an integration of Synthetic Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, Bioprocessing, Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology.
The consortium members are already linked through formal inter-institutional collaborations, such as the CSCB and NIBRT .
The Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology (CSCB) is a consortium of Dublin universities (RCSI, TCD, UCD) collaborating on drug design, synthesis and structural analysis and was established under the Higher Education Authority's PRTLI Cycle 3 in 2003. The CSCB is supported by a custom-built, state-of-the-art facility on the UCD campus and houses over 60 chemists.
NIBRT is established as a not-for-profit independent company with 4 major shareholders (DCU, Sligo-IT, TCD and UCD). NIBRT is currently located in leased facilities in UCD but will move to a new building on the UCD campus that will provide unique bioprocessing facilities for research and training. NIBRT has developed various research programmes with PIs at UCD and DCU.
In addition, the partner institutions collaborate through individual academic programes, for example:
Chemical Engineering and Bioprocessing ( DCU , NIBRT, UCD)
Therapeutics and Theranostics ( DCU , TCD, UCD)
Structural Proteomics (TCD, UCD)
Glycobiology/glycochemistry ( DCU , UCD)
The BPS builds on an infrastructure that has developed across the partner institutions through repeated cycles of PRTLI funding, not least through collaborative research programmes that will be critical in the national development of the pharmaceutical industry. UCD will contribute to the programmes in chemical and bioprocess engineering, synthesis and chemical biology, clinical pharmacology including novel animal models of disease, biotechnology and pharmacology (proteomics and glycobiology), drug delivery and animal toxicology. In the case of synthesis and chemical biology a number of courses from Dublin Chemistry will be offered. Dublin Chemistry is a joint graduate programme between the Schools of Chemistry in TCD and UCD.
UCD has also recently set up a Thematic Doctoral Programme for BPS.
The objective of this National Programme is to provide 4th level graduate students with high quality training in the area of (bio)pharmaceuticals and pharmacological sciences and to foster inter-institutional collaborations and access to infrastructure.
The strategic goals of the BPS programme are to:
(a) provide opportunities for existing science and engineering undergraduates to obtain postgraduate education and research experience through Undergraduate and Taught Masters Education Programmes, Postgraduate Research Programmes and Structured Doctoral Programmes
(b) to provide a research platform that underpins future development of the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland.