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What is pharmacy research?

Along with providing innovative pharmacy education, members of the Pharmacy Schools Council are heavily involved in pharmacy research.

Research in pharmacy is a broad field which incorporates pharmaceutical science and practice. Pharmaceutical science combines physical and life sciences and includes all aspects of drug design and development, dosage form design and drug delivery, whereas research in pharmaceutical practice considers clinical pharmacy and how medicines are used.

Discoveries in the field of pharmacogenetics are also fast paced; this area studies how an individual’s genetics can affect their response to drugs. All fields help create excellent evidence for the design and delivery of our medicines.

Pharmaceutical research makes a huge contribution to the UK’s economy. Research drives the pharmaceutical industry, which is Britain’s leading manufacturing sector. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry suggests that it brings in a trade surplus of £6.9 billion per year.

How do you get into a career in pharmacy research?

A Master of Pharmacy degree (MPharm) provides you with a unique set of clinical and scientific skills which will help you stand out if you are looking for employment in industry or academic research.

Academic pharmacy is vital to inform and progress the field of pharmaceutical science, along with the practice of pharmacy. It helps to strengthen the everyday pharmacy services we all access by developing the evidence base used to design new and better services.

There are several routes to a career in clinical academic pharmacy. The National Institute for Health Research and Health Education England support the Clinical Academic Training Programme. Pharmacists are now able to apply for Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowships. This is a funded training opportunity directed to pharmacists who have a year’s experience of clinical practice and have undertaken the relevant research training required to be able to progress to a PhD. The award of the Fellowship covers salary costs and tuition fees, along with the costs associated with a research project.

For those at an earlier stage, there is the possibility of applying to study the Masters in Clinical Research (MClinRes). The MClinRes develops understanding of the theory and practice of applied clinical research. It is intended for health professionals who are looking to develop their clinical research skills.

For more information on pharmacy research, visit the Royal Pharmaceutical Society website.