New programme to help Cambridge researchers connect with industry

The first in a new series of seminars to assist University researchers connect with industry was held last week in Cambridge.

The Industry Engagement Forum is a new initiative organised by Cambridge Enterprise and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The aim of the initiative is to encourage early career researchers to think about the potential societal and economic benefits of their research and to understand how they may increase collaborations with industry.

The first of these sessions was attended by PhD students, Post-Doctoral researchers and academic staff from the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology, and from MedImmune, one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies.

Cambridge can offer immensely professional researchers with vision and motivation – just what companies need to build their business.

Professor Nigel Slater

During the day-long session, participants discussed specific technical issues around biopharmaceutical manufacturing and how Cambridge expertise could be utilised to provide solutions to these commercial problems.

“Through programmes like this, Cambridge researchers are able to gain insight into current research topics of interest to MedImmune and other partner companies,” said Dr Amanda Wooding of Cambridge Enterprise.

“Cambridge can offer immensely professional researchers with vision and motivation – just what companies need to build their business,” said Professor Nigel Slater, Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology. “We hope that these programmes can lead to further partnerships and research collaborations.”

“My team and I were delighted to be the first participants in this new Industry Engagement Forum. It was a highly stimulating and energising meeting,” said Dr Paul Varley, Vice President, Biopharmaceutical Development at MedImmune. “The agenda, which we helped develop with Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology, involved brainstorming some of the key questions that challenge us in the commercialisation of new biological drugs, such as cost, reproducibility and administration route. It is also great to be working with such a leading group as CEB on our doorstep here in Cambridge.”

A number of other sessions with other companies will be held over the next five terms. Other University departments are also planning Industry Engagement Forums over the coming months.

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