Biopharmaceutical Development masters student at the University of Leeds

Chris Mann

About your course/programme

1.       Why did you choose to come to Leeds University to study the above course?

It’s a cutting-edge course that gives an intense view into the biopharmaceutical sector and is a one of a kind in the UK with a placement at a biopharmaceutical company giving a real-world insight into the sector.

2.       What did you enjoy about your course?

Having a large teaching by industry has given a sense of what actually happens in the industry. This allows us to solve problems based on real world products and so understand the solutions with industry based context, preparing us for after our masters.

3.       What have been the highlights of the course?

Having tours of Covance and Fujifilm Diosynth labs during the masters was insightful to reinforce the learning we have done on campus was incredibly useful. This linked in well with our lab practical module and so we could ask questions about the application of what we had been doing and learning about.

4.        What was your greatest challenge throughout your course?

This masters has developed my interpersonal skills due to having a large emphasis on group work. This means not only working to my own schedule to get my own work done, but making a group schedule too, and if any part of the project is delayed it ends up with knock on effects later in the project.

5.       Where will you be doing your 12 month placement? What are you most looking forward to getting involved with during your placement?

Fujifilm Diosynth in Middlesbrough, really looking forward to an opportunity to gain real world experience and apply the knowledge I’ve learnt at university to progress a drug research and development towards the market.

6.       How do you think doing a research project has benefited/will benefit you in the future?

Real data and real research is significantly more engaging than fictional scenarios. By pushing forward understanding of the project and overcoming the obstacles that arise during the research process gives a more holistic understanding of the content around the project. This then will lead onto the research that will be part of my career and so give me a head start of experience into the research sector.

About the University

1.       Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I did my undergraduate at Leeds and chose to continue after seeing first-hand the high-quality teaching and facilities that are available. This on top of a new masters with industry teaching and a placement to gain real experience at a biopharmaceutical company was an opportunity I could not refuse.

2.       What have been the highlights of your time at the University of Leeds?

There have been loads of amazing opportunities at Leeds, but for me, being one of the course and faculty student representatives has been a great way to understand how the university runs and to make changes to the course and faculty, these might be small things from extensions on work to avoid deadline clashes were available, or larger things such as getting the university to look at the structure of payments for the course to allow us to use the placement to help fund the masters.

3.       How have the facilities (libraries/labs etc.) helped you get the most out of your degree?

As well as standard university teaching labs, we used specialist machines in the research labs such as automated HPLC columns and SPR equipment, bridging the gap from scientific lab experience I had from undergrad to what will be used daily on placement.

4.       Have you joined any student societies/sports clubs at the university? If so, how has this enhanced your time at the University?

I’ve joined a few societies during my time in Leeds and it has allowed me to continue with things I was already interested in, as well as try new things and meet new people. Having something to do apart from the course helps to have something other than work to focus on all the time.

5.       What key aspects of your experience of Leeds would you highlight to students thinking about coming do the same course?

The placement where you will do your final year project and teaching by industry leaders is one of the most significant differences between this course and others across the UK. Nowhere else is giving these opportunities which will enhance your skillset and experience to set a solid foundation in a career within the industry. 

6.       What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans? Has the University (careers centre/lecturers etc.) helped you with these goals in any way?

I am planning on working in the biopharmaceutical sector after my masters and am considering a PhD after a few years of experience in industry. This will set me up to progress even further within the sector and aim towards higher levels within the biopharmaceutical industry.