Industry and academia join forces as UCB supports Leicester PhD students

Posted by hct16 at Oct 25, 2012 10:25 AM |
UCB Pharma scheme provides University of Leicester PhD students with funding for their course studies.
Industry and academia join forces as UCB supports Leicester PhD students

Students Alice Barkell and Phillip Addis from Leicester University at UCBs PHD Networking Day.

Issued by UCB Pharma on 23 October 2012
  • UCB committed to £3.15m investment in UK PhD scientists and universities to develop closer links in research and enhance student skills
  • Four University of Leicester students currently in scheme – each receiving direct and in-kind support to approximate value of £70k over the course of their studies
  • University-industry collaboration aims to deliver research leaders of the future

Slough, UK, 23rd October: Some of Leicester’s most promising PhD research scientists and their academic supervisors joined others from across the UK to share ideas and gain skills at pharmaceutical company UCB’s headquarters. Part of a rolling programme supporting academic scientists, the UCB PhD Networking Day aims to strengthen current partnerships and provide students with access to training, facilities and expertise not available in an academic setting alone.

Neil Weir, Senior Vice President of Discovery, UCB, and Chair of the Innovation Board of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: “Success in scientific innovation is increasingly built on rapid exchange of ideas between academic and industrial sectors. The reality is that the scientist of tomorrow will need the skills to be effective in both environments. Supporting academic science is at the heart of UCB’s strategy for the future of medical research. The Government published a review earlier this year which called for greater business-university collaboration. If this is fulfilled, the next Review will report that universities are firmly at the heart of our economy, collaborating with business and government in generating the wealth that is necessary for a healthy and prosperous society.”

UCB is currently supporting 45 PhD students through access to cutting edge technology, supervision and placement opportunities in its laboratories. The company also covers the costs of laboratory consumables at their home university and tops–up direct grants awarded by government research councils. Over the course of a PhD, UCB invests around £70k worth of support per researcher. The current commitment stands at £3.15m with more PhDs to be enrolled in the scheme in years ahead.

University of Leicester students, Christine Prosser, Alice Barkell, Philip Addis and Saleha Patel, whose research includes NMR, Interactions of Cell Surface Receptors for Wnt Family Proteins and Complexes formed between therapeutic antibodies and target proteins, attended the networking day at UCBs UK headquarters in Slough Berkshire. The Slough headquarters is also home to UCBs world-leading centre for research into immunology. Some 400 scientists work at the centre looking at conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and osteoporosis.

Philip Addis, studying for a DPhil in biochemistry, commented: “Working with industry has helped give a broader perspective on the work I was doing and the future work I will do. It’s been a valuable support in the sense of giving me a greater range of experience, and access to equipment and techniques extending beyond what is available in the academic environment.”

UCB PhD Networking Day enables scientists from different institutions to exchange ideas and spur opportunities for collaboration. The students present on their projects, gaining experience on public speaking that will prove valuable as their scientific career progresses with prizes awarded for the best talks. Attendees also benefited from advice from the Medical Research Council and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council on how to secure funding and heard a keynote address on the latest in antibody research.

Further Information:
Scott Fleming, Head of Communications, UCB
T +447702777378, E:

About UCB
UCB, Brussels, Belgium ( is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 8,000 people in about 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.2 billion in 2011. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).

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