The Group’s work focuses on three main areas; industry-academia partnerships, knowledge and skills.
Collaboration between industry and academia is vital to enable the translation of biomedical opportunities into safe and effective medicines; a complementary and sustainable model with public and private sector participation is urgently required.
It is becoming increasingly important for researchers to move freely between disciplines and sectors in order to build networks and drive forward medicines research as well as to support career development. The DDPG is working with academia, industry and funding bodies to help establish a more ‘permeable’ environment that encourages researcher mobility.
As well as maintaining a deep knowledge of their core discipline, researchers increasingly need to have a working knowledge of aligned disciplines as well as the transferable skills that enable them to function effectively across scientific, cultural and geographical boundaries.
One way to support this is through continuing professional development (CPD). The DDPG will be working alongside organisations such as
Cogent and the Innovative Medicines Initiative, as well as with the CPD schemes in our own component Societies, to ensure that training, CPD and mentor-ship opportunities effectively address the future needs of drug discovery researchers.
The general trend towards downsizing among large multinational pharmaceutical companies has resulted in a lowered training capacity. It is vital that key skills are not lost and the DDPG recognizes that there is a window of opportunity to retain and develop world class talent. To this end, a skills sub-group has been formed to address these issues.
A number of the individual member societies within the Drug Discovery Skills Group (DDSG) have created skills statements. These outline the skills requirements for medicines development within their each individual disciplines:
- Biochemistry Skills for Drug Discovery
- Chemistry Skills for Drug Discovery
- Pharmacology Skills for Drug Discovery
- Physiology Skills for Drug Discovery
- Toxicology Skills for Drug Discovery
It is important that scientists in any specific discipline have a working knowledge of other key disciplines; thus the group are working towards a cross-discipline skills audit based on these statements. Interaction and close cooperation with those working in different subject areas is vital in order to facilitate effective meaningful exchange of data and information so that everyone may contribute to intelligent decision-making within the drug design and development process.