A Charnwood Campus Cluster NHS and Academia Collaboration Platform event in partnership with the University of Leicester Institute for Precision Health, part of a series of events to support the growth and success of the life science organisations clustered around Charnwood Campus Science, Innovation and Technology Park.

Over 100 Early Career Researchers, Industry leaders and experts in enabling career growth gathered at Charnwood Campus for the first Midlands-wide Early Career Researcher Workshop. The workshop is part of a series of events funded by the recently announced Leicester Life Sciences Translation Research Partnership (LTRP) in conjunction with a UKRI MRC-funded Impact Acceleration Account awarded to the University of Leicester, which will greatly enhance opportunities for our cluster companies to attract and retain the best talent our region has to offer.  The government’s Life Sciences Vision to be a leading superpower requires a sustainable skills pipeline and an innovation-ready workforce suited for the new technologies being developed, yet it is well recognised that more needs to be done to close the skills gap and ensure our life sciences industry can recruit and retain talent.

Early career researchers working in academia are often unsure how to make the leap from academic research to working in the life sciences industry. At the workshop, delegates were shown how to leverage their transferable skills, gain insights for interview skills, understand how to develop a career within the life sciences sector and network with industry experts to build relationships and explore career opportunities. The event kicked off with a fantastic double act from Dr Harriet Pearsey-Alonzi, Client Success Manager at Merck Life Sciences and Dr Aimee Parsons, Scientific Selling Specialist at Merck Group, who talked about what they have learnt on their journey transitioning into industry and what they would advise to those on a similar journey.

Gosia Khrais, Director at Charnwood Campus said: “Nationally the Life Sciences sector employs over 280,000 people, and our Midlands Health and Life Sciences Super Cluster accounts for 33,000, jobs, therefore it is vitally important that we develop a strong talent pool to support sustainable growth of the life science industry in the region. While Charnwood Campus offers world-class offices and labs for rent, an ambitious business that aspires to scale-up and become investable above and beyond a thriving eco-system, requires access to highly skilled and motivated individuals. Charnwood Campus Science, Technology and Innovation Park paves the way for Leicestershire to become a life sciences powerhouse in the region in ways that have never been done before. Reaching out to academics and offering them a whole day with renowned talent coaches, shows how passionate we are to make this ambitious vision a reality.”

Dr Lynne Howells, Institute for Precision Health, University of Leicester said: “We are incredibly lucky to work alongside such hugely talented and motivated Early Career Researchers. At the Institute for Precision Health, working with Charnwood Campus, we are committed to helping researchers understand where their talents lie so that they are better able to achieve their career ambitions.”

Dr Adam Peall, Charnwood Molecular said: “Charnwood Molecular is focused on providing expert drug discovery support to our clients, from customised standalone solutions to fully integrated programs. With our origins as a university spin-out we have a long heritage in engaging with academia and providing researchers with the opportunity to progress their careers within industry. Working at Charnwood provides our team the opportunity to work in a dynamic environment on a wide range of programs across many target classes and diverse therapeutic areas and is a great option for anyone looking to making the transition from academia.”

Dr Andy Lewis, Senior Vice President Pharmaceutical Development, Quotient Sciences: said; At Quotient we’ve been innovating drug development for over 30 years, since our inception as a small start-up spun out of the University of Nottingham, to the present day as a rapidly growing global drug development organisation. Our business is built on our people and their world class science and hope we can inspire some early-stage researchers to make that transition to industry to develop innovative medicines that meet the very many unmet clinical needs people are facing every day and have a profound and tangible impact on patients’ and their families lives.

Rachael Warner, Engage & Grow Central Midlands said: “”It was a huge honour to host this event. We know that moving from academia to industry can be a daunting prospect and we were delighted to be able to help these ambitious early career researchers get clarity on what they want, what they need to do and who they need to be to get there. It ties in seamlessly with our ambition to build highly engaged, high-performing teams across the Midlands life sciences industry.”

Dr Lucy Alexander, Head of Business Development, Charnwood Campus commented; “It was wonderful to feel the passion in the room, and great to see that our early careers researchers are taking their next careers steps very seriously. This event has enabled early career researchers from our universities and NHS trusts, industry and skills experts in the region to get together for the first time, and we really hope that this event and our ongoing Life Sciences Talent and Skills Institute programme will make a real difference to recruitment and retention in the region.”