Successful clinical pharmacology training scheme renewed

oung scientists analyzing substances in laboratory

A highly successful University scheme to train “high flyers” who are likely to become future leaders in academia and industry has been renewed by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The North West England MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship Programme in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics is an initiative funded by the MRC and run jointly by the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester.

The scheme, led by Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, from the University of Liverpool, and Professor Christopher Griffiths , from the University of Manchester, provides world-class training to develop the next generation of research leaders in clinical pharmacology. This has been identified as a skills shortage priority area for UK across multiple stakeholders including healthcare, academia and industry.

Utilising expertise

The original scheme, started in 2010, has successfully trained 13 fellows with a focus on personalised medicine and drug safety science.

Just over £3m of funding has been awarded for the renewed scheme, the MRC providing £1.5m, and the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester providing £150K each to the scheme.

Partnerships with four major pharmaceutical companies (Eli Lilly, Novartis, Roche, UCB Pharma) have also been formed resulting in each of them committing £300K to the scheme.  The aim again is to train 13 high-calibre clinical fellows.

The scheme will focus on three important disease areas of Oncology, Infectious Disease and Inflammation and Repair and each fellow will have the opportunity to utilise expertise in Drug Safety, Stratified Medicine and Systems Pharmacology.

New fellows will develop their research project in collaboration with at least one of the industry partners and will spend time at the industry partner facilities which will foster “without walls” research opportunities.

Highlighting our strengths

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, said: “The renewal of the scheme by MRC, together with the support from four global pharmaceutical companies, is a validation of the success of the initial programme, highlights our strengths in clinical pharmacology and allows us to continue to address the national skills shortage in this important clinical specialty”.

Professor Chris Griffiths , said: “We are delighted that this innovative and collaborative programme with  industry has been renewed. It provides unique training in academic clinical pharmacology for fellows from a broad range of  medical disciplines such as rheumatology, dermatology and oncology.

“Academic-industrial interfaces, as exemplified by the programme, will be an increasingly important aspect of translational research leading to high quality patient care.”

Dr Nathan Richardson, Head of Molecular & Cellular Medicine, MRC, adds: “The MRC Centre for Drug Safety Sciences at the University of Liverpool, with its strong partnerships with the University of Manchester and major pharmaceutical companies, continues to play a leading national role in understanding drug safety and off-target affects.

“With excellent leadership the Centre offers an outstanding environment to help the UK build a stronger cadre of clinician scientists with pharmacology skills and industry experience. We are delighted to renew our investment through this important training scheme.”

For more information regarding the scheme please visit

Young scientists analyzing substances in laboratory


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