Chemistry Programme Analytical Science Summer School Workshop held

By Deborah King,2014-06-18 00:01
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Chemistry Programme Analytical Science Summer School Workshop held ...

    Chemistry Programme

Analytical Science Summer School Workshop held on 2 November 2006

    Jury’s Inn, Birmingham

     For further information

     Katie Daniels


     Polaris House

     North Star Avenue


     SN2 1ET


A one day workshop was held to examine the requirements for a Summer School type

    training activity for analytical science PhD students. The driver for the workshop had

    been the March 2006 Theme day in Analytical Science. A key aspect of the theme day

    had been to examine the training and impact of the EPSRC / RSC analytical science

    studentship scheme. The theme day panel was broadly supportive of the studentship

    scheme and the requirement to underpin the postgraduate training base in this research

    area. However, there was a concern that there did not appear to be any differential

    between the students funded through the scheme and those funded through other routes

    including EPSRC Doctoral Training Grants or Responsive Mode. It was considered

    important that this key scheme should have associated with it enhanced training to

    ensure the scheme was best fit to meet its objectives.

In taking forward the recommendations of the theme day report EPSRC examined a

    number of potential mechanisms for delivering such training. The conclusion of this

    examination was the provisional decision to invite applications to operate a summer

    school in the area. The criteria for the studentship scheme itself were also re-examined

    in this light, with the 2006 call inviting proposals with increased emphasis on

    collaboration and enhanced training.

Thirty analytical science researchers, split between academe and industry, attended the

    one day workshop.

Summer School Challenges

The key elements for a summer school in this area are to develop both increased

    awareness of analytical techniques and of the research challenges of users. It was

    considered important that the school is grounded in the practicalities of research,

    including an overview on the current state of the art along with what is being

    implemented within industry. Specific issues for this area are the barriers of taking new

    techniques and methodologies developed in academe into industry, the take up of

    existing technology across sectors and highlighting of best practice. The challenge of

    delivering increased awareness can only be delivered through problem solving based

    learning. This approach should be at the centre of a Summer School based activity.

What are the key elements of a summer school?

    ? The school should last at least 5 days in order to cover all the necessary basics

    about what analytical science actually is, through its industrial and social context.

    ? How analytical science is carried out experimentally, with an emphasis on the

    development as well as the use of analytical techniques.

    ? In response to changing analytical needs, the importance of innovation, design

    and creation of new analytical methods

    ? The summer school should demonstrate the academic rigour of analytical science

    training, highlighting the value of curiosity driven research.

    ? A range of students should be invited and it should not be exclusive to the EPSRC

    / RSC funded ones.

    ? The training within the school should be broad and cross disciplinary, and based

    on problem solving skills


    ? Key speakers should be carefully chosen in order to engage and hopefully inspire

    the students

    ? Networking opportunities should also be provided, possibly through a poster


    Which of these elements are best provided by industry or in partnership?


    ? Innovation should be highlighted with venture capitalists.

    ? Highlighting key technology areas from a number of sectors

    ? Problems solving sessions incorporating a wide range of industries.

    ? Exemplars from SMEs would also be important where analytical scientists can

    often be the chemist.

    ? High quality lectures from suitable analytical scientists in industry.

    ? Examples of production failure and rapid trouble shooting.


    ? Cross discipline awareness. Need to be exposed to areas not directly covered by

    their PhD programme. Examine how their skills and knowledge can make an

    impact within another area.

    ? Technology transfer; learning how to look at business, examine the market and

    issues with trying to transfer research outcomes to the commercial sector.

    Ideal Summer school programme

    ? There should be a welcome and the opportunity for introductions. Speed

    networking could also be incorporated at this point.

    ? A Summer School should initially address the question of what analytical science

    actually is, highlighting the challenges of technique development. Core

    components of this are to address questions such as accuracy and choice of

    techniques. The school should be delivered through a mix of presentation and

    group exercises.

    ? Issues to be addressed could include; quality sampling, statistics, method control

    and ISO, calibration, meaning of data, systems of accreditation.

    ? The programme should include an industrial and social context including health

    and wealth generation. There should be a strong user perspective, start with

    industrial people moving to group working. The sessions should be facilitated.

    ? It is important that the programme highlight the importance of inspiration,

    creativity and rigour to analytical science delivery and research, which could be

    delivered through case studies. The case studies should cover real problems over

    a range of disciplines and techniques; however, they should be based on a user

    perspective. It would also be useful to cover a range of application areas such as

    pharmaceutical, forensic or environmental. Despite the different sectors, key

    messages regarding quality, application, and innovation should come through.

    Following the case studies there should be a workshop element where they can


    apply the key learning points, there may be the opportunity to utilise some of the

    tools developed by the Laboratory of the Government Chemist. The existing

    technology gaps should also be highlighted.

    ? Theory of problem solving including creativity and ethics. This would be seen as a

    key opportunity to inspire students during their PhD. The exploitability spin off

    and entrepreneurs possibly from ISIS innovation or Cambridge consultants.

    ? There should be an opportunity for networking within the programme, possibly

    through an evening poster session.

    How could we measure the success of such a school?

    This aspect causes difficulty as it is difficult to measure an exact baseline; however there

    are distinct measures which could be put in place to examine this:

    ? Feedback; both immediate and upon completion of their PhD.

? Destination data

    ? The group could meet again to present results at a suitable event such as the

    Analytical Research Forum

? Have the groups networked following on from this?

? How to embed a summer school within a PhD programme?

    ? PhD students have a number of commitments to their time, the benefits of

    possibly a week long activity would have to be clear to both them and their

    supervisors. A key element to ensuring this is to incorporate academic challenges

    which will directly impact on their studies. There will have to be collective

    involvement from both academe and industry. The industrial component is crucial

    as this may be the only time some students will be directly exposed to industry


    ? The summer school should have a significant element of problem solving; this

    should be of a technical nature which can be seen as applicable to their own

    research, as well as exposing them to skills relevant for their future career.

    ? How to embed a collaborative approach between stakeholders in PhD training?

    ? At present non-CASE students have little or no contact with industry, there should

    be the opportunity to expose them to an industrial research environment. The

    key issue here was considered, giving the student an insight into industrial

    research, this would not only better prepare them but also allow them to make

    more informed career decisions. Students should have an insight as to what is

    expected of a PhD recruit in industry and what areas of career progression to


    ? Ensure students have seminar programme in place to widen knowledge, improve

    knowledge by providing broader context. It would be hoped that such interaction

    with stakeholders occurs throughout the PhD programme including; progress

    monitoring, industry tours.

    ? Involvement could be event rather than student centred; for example sponsorship

    and help in judging in-house communication events such as the Pfizer poster

    competition. Industrialists giving lectures in post graduate specialist courses. The


courses should be based on real problems / experiences e.g. ‘how my company

    developed pharmaceutical X’ as part of a drug design course.

    ? In terms of looking specifically at how industry is contributing effectively to training, the CASE system was considered a good example. The CASE system facilitates industrial investment into a project and this allows the student to experience the industrial context through visits or a placement. The CASE system also allows the institution access to specialist equipment. Through the CASE mechanism industry provides, financial support, an industrial context for the research and specialist equipment. In return industry can get considerable scientific input provided there is some continuity of industrial personnel.

    ? As analytical science researchers are strongly engaged with a variety of funding sources, including industrial, a summer school should include an element highlighting the issues surrounding IPR and exploiting research. An understanding of IPR issues should be introduced, including what the major issues regarding IPR are likely to be in the future. More broadly, participation of industrialists in postgraduate modules e.g. 'the business of science and technology' or 'making money out of chemistry'. These courses could be also linked through a university’s business development office.

    ? Throughout the school attendees should get an insight into industrial approaches through real life exemplars. An industrial context can give a student an increased sense of value to the PhD, through putting their training in a career context. There was also felt to be a role in introducing more generic business skills, such as project management and decision making.

    ? Lectures delivered by stakeholders should demonstrate the value of knowledge breadth and expertise outside core area. More broadly, students in one traditional discipline should be regularly exposed to problems in another, which would instil the philosophy of cross / inter disciplinary research.

    ? Industry could play a role in training through access to specialist scientific knowledge, and access to materials and equipment not routinely available at a university.


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