Press Releases

Exceptional funded internships in region's biopharmaceutical industry – University of Reading

Release Date : 04 August 2009

As part of a £1.3 million project to address the immediate and long-term skills and knowledge needs of the biopharmaceutical industry in the South-East, the universities of Reading and Surrey are now advertising 20 salaried internships in the industry.

Open to recent graduates or postgraduates who are interested in developing a career in this area or who might already have worked in the industry, the 11-month internships are intended to develop and retain skilled staff within the UK biopharma industry.

The internships will support companies of all sizes in moving forward with projects in a time of downsizing, recruitment freezes and challenging economic conditions. They will offer the interns an exceptional opportunity to gain industrial experience, skills and knowledge in areas of key interest to the industry itself.

The academic input from the universities makes these internships more than an industrial placement. The two universities will complement the interns' industrial experience with specialist education and training from dedicated project and academic staff. Each intern will also benefit from a university-based mentor.

In the long term, the project will allow the universities and their industrial partners to learn more about how graduates can be helped to manage the transition from university to work in biopharma and to consider how this transition can be improved for future graduates.

Dr Rachel Stewart, SE Universities Biopharma Skills Project Leader said: "We have used our expertise of working with the industry to create targeted opportunities for employees, the recently unemployed and graduates facing a depleted job market, particularly in areas the industry has identified as high priority. Through the workplace experience and university-supplied training, the interns will develop valuable new knowledge and skills that will enable them to make a real difference to the companies in which they are training and subsequently make informed decisions about their future career direction."

Pharmaceutical companies across the region were invited to submit applications for these internships, which are fully funded by the scheme. In particular, SMEs were encouraged to apply to ensure those companies with less experience of scoping and hosting placements had equal opportunities. The scheme has had an excellent response with a large number of good quality applications, of which 20 have been selected for funding.

The range of internships is very broad. As well as roles which draw on graduates from the core life science disciplines – such as work on novel antibiotics, electrophysiology, or industrial microbes for the production of renewable chemicals – there are opportunities for applicants with backgrounds in bioinformatics and mathematics – such as the development of mathematical 'systems pharmacology' models. The companies involved include such household names such as Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline as well as a number of SMEs.

The project will also employ four Industry Liaison and Internship Fellows, who will facilitate the relationship between graduates, industrial hosts and the two universities, as well as manage the interns' industrial and university experience.

The Fellows will also help develop and deliver a CPD (Continuous Professional Development) programme in response to industry's needs, including specialist and generic skills development.

Stuart Hughes PhD, Principal Research Scientist at Lilly UK said: "We are delighted to be part of the Reading-Surrey ECIF Biopharma Skills Project, which will contribute to skills development within the industry. We are hosting two interns who will have a valuable opportunity to gain insight into a range of Pharmacology activities and we are excited by the prospect of a strong field of applicants with an interest in a career in this area."

The interns will be paid £18,000-£20,000 for the 11-month internship. Deadline for applications is 16 August. Full details of the internships can be found here


For all University of Reading media enquiries please contact James Barr, Press Officer tel 0118 378 7115/07788 714376 or email

Notes to editors:

The project is a joint project with the University of Surrey and was awarded £689,185 under the Economic Challenge Investment Fund (ECIF). ECIF was set up by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to help universities respond rapidly to meet the immediate needs of the economy during the current recession. The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) offered match funding of £344,593 and the universities will each contribute £172, 296, bringing the value of the 18-month project to £1,378,371.

It offers clear, immediate benefits to participating business, universities and to current and prospective employees. The project is the first step in setting up a Centre for Knowledge and Skills Exchange for the Biopharma Industry in the South East, enabling ongoing dialogue and collaboration. Both universities look forward to a highly successful partnership that will bring huge benefits to the biopharma industry now, and in the future.


Search Form

Main navigation