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Global life sciences company in groundbreaking partnership with University of Bradford

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Students in a University laboratory

Covance by Labcorp will offer work experience to students and help design curriculum

One of the world’s leading life sciences companies has agreed to collaborate with the University of Bradford to provide vital work experience for postgraduate students.

The partnership between Covance by Labcorp, based in Harrogate, and the University’s Institute for Cancer Therapeutics (ICT), will strengthen research into chronic diseases and enhance learning opportunities.

Covance by Labcorp provides nonclinical, preclinical, clinical and commercialization services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

It will begin by running a ‘boot camp’ later this year to enable postgraduate students to shadow professional lab technicians and scientists. From next year, it is envisaged some postgraduate students will be offered up to nine months paid employment with the firm as part of the new 12-month postgraduate Master by Research (MRes) degree at the ICT.

The company will also play an active role in helping design parts of the taught curriculum.

Major milestone

Dr John Kendrick, director of science and commercial strategy at Covance by Labcorp, said: “We are excited about our collaboration with the University of Bradford not only because of the opportunities that it brings for expanding research that benefits patients, but also because it better trains students for careers in pharmaceutical companies like Covance by Labcorp.”

Dr Kamyar Afarinkia, from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences in the Faculty of Life Sciences said the partnership represented a major milestone.

He said: “We feel the collaboration provides our students with a range of industry-relevant skills and also benefits the company because they get to train students in ways which are relevant to their own and current industry practice.

“Bradford is at its heart a technological university; this kind of partnership goes to the very core of our ethos of helping young people become work ready in industry. This will also provide a platform for more research and knowledge transfer further down the line.”

He added: “This is also about widening participation in science, by reaching people from those communities who do not usually consider careers in science. This University has a long and proud track record of taking action to address such inequalities. In short, we are very good at ‘adding value’ to students and I think that also chimes with Covance by Labcorp’s own commitment to supporting their local community.”

Professor Alastair Goldman, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: “I am delighted we are finding new opportunities for students to experience work while gaining an academic qualification at the same time. Combining academic studies with industrial experience is the best way to set young people up for exciting professional careers."

Strong training

Participants in the scheme will get first-hand experience of research in a pharmaceutical setting, following a strong initial training in basic science, scientific methodology and laboratory techniques, as well as transferable skills including oral and poster presentations, writing and peer review of scientific manuscripts and employability skills. 

The MRes programme in the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of Bradford, comprises one-third taught element and two thirdsUniversity lab or industry lab-based research project.

There are currently six specialisms within the MRes programme in: Cancer Drug Discovery, Cancer Pharmacology, Drug Toxicology & Safety Pharmacology, Molecular & Cell Biology, Chemical Biology, and Pharmaceutical Technology.

As part of the agreement, Covance by Labcorp will also contribute to the curriculum design of a new MRes in ‘Design and Development of Precision Medicines’, to be launched next year at the University of Bradford.

About Covance by Labcorp

Covance by Labcorp is a leading contract research organization (CRO) that provides contract research services to the drug, medical device and diagnostics, crop protection and chemical industries. Covance by Labcorp provides comprehensive drug development solutions and is on a mission to advance health, and power clear, confident decisions. To learn more about Labcorp visit: www.labcorp.com; to learn more about Covance by Labcorp visit: www.covance.com.

Labcorp is a leading global life sciences company that provides vital information to help doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, and patients make clear and confident decisions.

Through its diagnostics and drug development capabilities, it provides insights and accelerates innovations to improve health and improve lives. With more than 70,000 employees, it serves clients in more than 100 countries.

Additional information

University of Bradford was named UK’s University of the Year for Social Inclusion in 2020, and topped the new Social Mobility Index university league table for England based on its impact on improving students’ life chances. Additionally, 96% of its research was rated world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

The next entry to the Covance by Labcorp-University of Bradford Scheme will start in Sept 2021.

For further information about the MRes programme and the University of Bradford Covance by Labcorp Training Scheme, please visit www.bradford.ac.uk/courses/pg/master-by-research or contact the programme leader, Dr Kamyar Afarinkia (k.afarinkia@bradford.ac.uk).

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