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Graduates Lack Knowledge and Skills?

Graduates Lack Knowledge and Skills?


‘More universities should provide courses that offer hands-on experience to better prepare their students.’ This is the response from the Head of Cranfield Health, Professor Joe Lunec, after a report claimed that those leaving universities lacked the required knowledge and skills to progress in the UK’s pharmaceutical industry.
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010

The report released by the ABPI (The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry) earlier this month suggested that the industry was at ‘tipping point’ due to those entering it not having enough laboratory or practical real-life experience.

It also stated that the knowledge of research and development into new medicines was limited and highlighted a deficiency of skills in the critical subjects which support translational medicine leading to research trials in patients.

Professor Lunec has argued that Cranfield University students are given the ‘whole package’ when it comes to post-graduate courses, not only providing a high standard of teaching but also in equipping students with higher level personal skills such as knowledge application and problem solving.

He said: “I agree with the report’s findings. Interest in clinical research and associated studies at Cranfield is growing. Unfortunately the UK’s overall interest doesn’t seem to be that great. The greater interest seems to come from outside the UK.

“Cranfield prides itself on undertaking research and teaching which has a direct application to the work place and this is why 94% of our students go on to relevant work or further study within six months of graduation. We offer a complete package by fulfilling the needs of the industry through our industry-led courses. Most universities are used to providing courses around a traditional curriculum rather than addressing the requirements of industry.”

In recent years, students in Cranfield Health have been lectured by professionals from a wide range of companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Quintiles, Hypoguard, Smartsensor Telemed, Pivotal Design, Harrold Instruments, Allergan, and SPD Spark, as well as from agencies including the MHRA, NICE, ICR, BARQA, TOPRA, and medics from Northampton, Gloucester, Milton Keynes and Bedford NHS Trusts.

The University offers a range of MSc and Postgraduate Diploma courses, including the subjects of Clinical Research and Translational Research. These courses are delivered both full time and by part time study, enabling students to carry on working whilst developing their knowledge and skills.

Professor Lunec added: “To ensure all our courses are relevant and up to date and meeting the needs of industry we use research and industrial advisory committees whose members represent leading organisations to ensure course content is contemporary and pertinent to the needs of industry.”

Cranfield Health’s new Vincent Building was part of a £30 million investment programme on campus highlighting Cranfield’s drive to spearhead vital research, education and consultancy in the health sector. This has included all new state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment.

To find out more about Cranfield Health visit

To read the ABPI report click here (pdf)