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Eur J Pharm Sci. 2001 Feb;12(4):353-9.

Challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry: training graduates for employment in pharmaceutical R&D.

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Pfizer Global Research & Development, Groton Laboratories, Eastern Point Road 8118/01, Groton, CT 06340, USA.


There is a shortfall between output from universities and demand by the pharmaceutical and health care industries for science and engineering graduates able to rapidly contribute to success in the business environment. Against a changing infrastructure of pharmaceutical research, the development of new chemical entities by major companies accounts for a high proportion of R&D expenditure. Allocation of staff is divided fairly evenly between discovery, non-clinical and clinical research activities and in all categories the new sciences are likely to be used extensively. In dealing with the shortfall the challenge comes from balancing education in basic science with training in the emerging areas of science and technology. There is a need for a 'partnership' that includes not only industry and academia but also government, since these three bodies have both synergistic and diverging interests in scientific education. On the education-training continuum, industry should recognise what it most values from academia and provide as much input and support as possible. At the same time universities must question their ability to fulfil their traditional educational role in the face of current rates of adoption of new sciences and technology. While disciplinary excellence remains vital for PhD students, multi-disciplinary programmes are becoming increasingly important to enable graduates to function effectively in the modern, globalised pharmaceutical industry.

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