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Bridging Scotland’s skills gap in Advanced Therapies

Bridging Scotland’s skills gap in Advanced Therapies

University works with Charles River Laboratories to develop short course


A new course launches at Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Applied Sciences on 24 January, offering students and recent graduates an opportunity to build key skills for a career in the expanding field of Advanced Therapies.

The five-day course has been developed by Edinburgh Napier, working closely with Charles River Laboratories. It forms part of the UK’s Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN) and will teach Good Laboratory Practice - supplying participants with theoretical knowledge, including sterile manufacturing and the development and production of Advanced Therapies - and practical skills needed to enter the Advanced Therapies workforce. These include cell culture and immunoassay techniques, and lab auditing, as well as learning about the quality and regulatory environment and Good Manufacturing Practice within an industrial setting.

ATSTN was launched in 2020 and operates through three centres, two in England and one in Scotland. Edinburgh Napier is the only university in Scotland to be a member of ATSTN, and the School of Applied Sciences partners with RoslinCT, SULSA (the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance), the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, and Ayrshire College to deliver bespoke and highly targeted training to address the skills gaps identified in advanced therapy and vaccine manufacturing.

Dr Claire Garden, Associate Professor in the School of Applied Sciences, said: “Advanced Therapies offer enormous potential and promise to protect our society from current and future diseases, but when the UK government conducted research with companies in 2019, 83% were concerned about their ability to capitalise on emerging opportunities because skills anticipated to be essential were – at that time – missing.

“With our industry skills focus and partnership with key employers, recognised in our recent reaccreditation by the Royal Society of Biology, we have the track record to bring this training to a wide audience.”

Geoff Burns, General Manager of Charles River Edinburgh, is delighted to be working on this targeted project. He said: “Charles River are very pleased to be partnering with Edinburgh Napier University to provide an Advanced Therapy skills training course as part of the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network.

“We are dedicated to supporting students both during and after their time at university, and this course will help ensure the scientists of the future are well-equipped for a career in the emerging industries of advanced therapies and vaccine manufacturing.

“There is no doubt that many exciting breakthroughs are to be had in the future for the long-term management and even cure of disease.”

Nathan Barnett, programme coordinator at SULSA, added: “This course is an exciting addition to the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network in Scotland. It will give industry insight into some of the careers available in the fast-growing advanced therapies sector and provide practical skills relevant to roles in the industry.”

The bespoke course is being launched at a vital moment for the Scottish Life Sciences Industry and provides a brilliant opportunity for students and recent graduates interested in a career in Advanced Therapies.

It runs from 24-29 January at Edinburgh Napier University’s Sighthill campus and at Charles River Laboratories’ state-of-the-art facilities. The course will run twice more in 2022. To enquire about participating, contact

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Last Updated: 13-Jan-2022