Student becomes first recipient of Strathclyde University degree with GSK


Suzanne Davies is awarded an MPhil as part of the collaboration between the industry and academia

A student has become the first to graduate from a landmark research programme run by the University of Strathclyde in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.

Suzanne Davies, who works in GSK Stevenage’s process chemistry division, has been awarded an MPhil degree, offered as part of the collaboration between the pharmaceutical giant and the University.

Davies, who joined GSK in 2005, said she believes the degree will benefit her career, and her employer, in the long term.

‘I heard about the MPhil programme from my line manager and it was immediately clear that this would be a fantastic opportunity for the continuation of my personal development at GSK.

‘In addition to the chance to improve key skills such as communication, the potential for collaboration with academia was a notable bonus. As a result of the programme, I have expanded my knowledge of organic chemistry, visited the University of Strathclyde to speak to PhD students about process chemistry, and enhanced many transferrable skills.

In addition to the chance to improve key skills such as communication, the potential for collaboration with academia was a notable bonus

‘Most important, I have gained a qualification from a respected academic establishment, which will be recognised across the chemical industry. Looking forward, I intend to continue to learn and develop myself throughout my career at GSK by seeking out new opportunities. The application of the skills I obtained during the MPhil programme will also directly contribute to the development of new medicines for GSK’s portfolio.’

Strathclyde and GSK have created a unique, bespoke framework for collaborative research degree programmes and jointly set up a Postgraduate Doctoral Training Centre, based at Strathclyde, which enables the firm’s employees and other hosted researchers, working in drug discovery and development, to obtain MPhil and PhD research degrees through their work-based projects.

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Programme Director Professor William Kerr, of Strathclyde’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, who was Davies’s academic supervisor, said: ‘This programme facilitates and catalyses the performance and delivery of industrially focused collaborative research. The expertise in core chemistry of our academic supervisors complements the skills within GSK and the flow of ideas broaden thinking and practice on both sides to enhance and accelerate drug discovery processes.’