The second EMTRAIN PhD Workshop was hosted by GSK in Stevenage, UK, from 14 to 17 April 2013.

The second annual EMTRAIN workshop for Public Private Partnership PhDs was held April 14th – 17th 2013. The workshop was hosted by GSK and held at their flagship UK Medical Research Centre in Stevenage. Twenty eight students representing ten countries and twelve companies, of which three were SMEs (small medium enterprises) attended the workshop.

The programme for the first day was organised to give the students an introduction to drug discovery and development as well as some 'to-get-to-know-each-other' to stimulate the networking in the group. The overall programme focused on future trends in the pharmaceutical industry, and included topics such as global developments in pharmaceutical R&D and ethical issues in biomedical research. The many excellent presentations were followed by lively discussions that continued over coffee breaks and dinners. All students were asked to give a short oral presentation of their own research projects. Each student session was chaired by a senior scientist from academia or industry giving the student practice in defending their research. The presentations provided an impressive exposure of what can be accomplished when industry and academia collaborate and the collaboration is linked by the responsibility for a talented young PhD student. The programme also included a much appreciated visit to the GSK R&D laboratories where students were given a tour by GSK PhD students and young post-docs of chemistry and biology research laboratories. We also had a visit to the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), where the students were given a view into the world of SME company development. This SBC presentation lecture was followed by an informal reception where students could interact with scientists from the SCB tenant companies. GSK R&D has during this workshop allowed us an impressive insight into the changing nature of the pharmaceutical industry and how public-private partnerships work and succeed in real life today.

One of the sessions, run by Dr. Claire Johnson, was dedicated to the EMTRAIN on-course® portal. The students provided valuable feedback on how to improve this resource in order to serve their needs.

The atmosphere throughout the workshop was very friendly and intellectually stimulating, and both students and mentors from academia and industry mingled diligently at every break in the programme. Many students said during the workshop that they would very much like to continue to stay in touch, and the presentation of the EMTRAIN PhD network given by two invited senior EMTRAIN students, that also attended the first workshop, was much appreciated. All the students have been invited to join the network that at the time of writing this has had 48 members. 

Many thanks to AbbVie Deutschland GmbH, AstraZeneca, Bayer HealthCare, Boehringer-Ingelheim, GSK, Janssen, MRC UK, Novo Nordisk, Orion, RainDance Technologies, Roche, UCB and to MRC UK for the collaboration in funding their public-private partnership PhD students. Many thanks to GSK for an unforgettable dinner held in their historical training centre in North Mymms Park, Hertfordshire! We, the organisers, are very pleased with the outcome of this workshop. The hard work in preparing it was indeed worth the effort. We look forward to the next workshop which will be hosted by UCB in Brussels in spring 2014.

For further information about the workshop please take a look at the pdf agenda.

2nd PPP PhD Workshop, Stevenage, 14-17 April 2013