Therapeutics and nanomedicine

Therapies based on small molecules represent the largest proportion of sales in the global pharmaceutical market; the oncology market is the largest therapeutic category with 8.5 per cent market share in 2010 (HM Government, Strength, Opportunity 2011). In the past six years nanotechnology has provided significant advances for therapies in targeted drug delivery. Many of the current practices for making therapeutic agents are likely to be replaced by those based on nanotechnology.

Formulation science has been a major strength in UK industry and is key in successfully transforming drugs into innovative medicines. To maintain the scale of this industry in the UK will require both industry and academia to work together in creating the next generation of leaders in this field.

We need to train the next generation of physical scientists and engineers across multiple disciplines to provide therapeutic interventions and new technologies able to mitigate increasing costs to the NHS due to health conditions and diseases and the rising ageing demographic in the UK.

Any proposal in this area is required to cover training across multiple disciplines ranging from engineering, physics, chemistry and the life sciences. It will provide additional opportunities for students to learn about clinical practice, business techniques and regulatory and safety issues fundamental to understanding the complexity of the healthcare supply chain. It will be important for any proposal in this area to have strong engagement with industry and a focus on translation.

Proposals should offer multidisciplinary, translation-focused industrially and clinically relevant doctoral training that builds upon research excellence and will develop skilled people for the healthcare and life sciences sector.

Training should cover appropriate exposure to end user/ patient involvement, safety, regulatory and ethical approval processes, as well as topics such as risk management, life cycle analysis and systems-based approaches. Proposals should promote industrial and clinical connectivity. Joint supervision from the most appropriate disciplines is required.

Graduates should have the skills to innovate responsibly, with an appreciation of innovation and translation pathways (for example of clinical trials, health economics and socio-technological contexts).

Proposals should link appropriately to relevant training programmes funded through routes other than the Centres for Doctoral Training.