What is pharmacy research?
Along with providing innovative pharmacy education, our members are heavily involved in pharmacy research.
Research in pharmacy is a broad field which can incorporate pharmaceutical science as well as pharmaceutical practice. Pharmaceutical science 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. For example, the pharmaceutical industry 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.
Often working in partnership with industry, academic pharmacy research is going from strength to strength:
In the last
Research Assessment Exercise (2008), the peer-review exercise which evaluates the quality of research at UK universities, over 50% of pharmacy research reviewed was assessed as being internationally excellent or above.
Pharmacy research funding for the assessment period totalled £190 million.
The overall quality profiles in 2008 showed a significant improvement compared to those awarded in 2001, with 14% of outputs judged to be world leading.
How do you get into a career in pharmacy research?
An MPharm, or Master of Pharmacy (the qualification needed before a pre-registration year and becoming a registered pharmacist), 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.
You may also like to consider a career in academia. 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, tuition fees, along with the costs associated with a research project. Further information can be found via
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. Pharmacists have recently been given access to the MClinRes as a pilot. Currently 12 higher education institutions are funded to provide the programme and so if you are interested, you should get in touch with the providers of the MClinRes to understand whether pharmacists can apply. Successful candidates are provided with a salary and tuition fees are paid. For further information see