The ABCRF plays a rather unique role in terms of researcher development, from the earliest stages right through to developing a career in industry or in research. Thus ABCRF PI’s are very actively involved in programmes to promote careers in science at both first and second level; delivery of a range of undergraduate degrees relevant to the pharmaceutical sciences including work placements in the pharma sector both in Ireland and overseas; the ABCRF hosts undergraduate summer research projects; postgraduate education combining both the usual academic elements such as biweekly seminars incorporating presentation and problem solving skills, and in addition, extensive exposure to the pharma sector through industrial placements for PhD students, industry seminars etc; collaborative projects with industry involving both PhD students and postdoctoral researchers leading to very valuable experience for the researchers at the industry-academic interface.
Many of the ABCRF researchers are involved in interdisciplinary programmes of research. The employment record of PhD graduates and postdocs from the ABCRF teams in the pharmaceutical industry, especially in synthetic and analytical areas, is excellent, reflecting the match between the training provided within the ABCRF and the skills needs of the companies. It is clear that many of the PhD students in the ABCRF leverage the experience and insight gained during an industrial placement during their PhD research, in developing their career on completion of their PhD in the industrial sector.
In addition to its research mission however, the ABCRF also plays a strategic role in relation to the development of the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland, through research collaborations, provision of technical services, skills provision, especially at PhD level, and policy development in line with the Government’s Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (SSTI published in 2006). It is clear that both in industry and at a national policy level, the ABCRF is highly regarded for its contribution in this area and indeed in facilitating increased R&D activity.