The ITT brought together students and academics from the departments of Mathematical Sciences and Pharmacy & Pharmacology, and representatives from partner organisations Syngenta and Roche.

The general theme was chemical dispersion and effectiveness with problems ranging from improving clinical trial design to development of routes to effectively categorise active ingredients.

ITTs focus on problem formulation. Participants are presented with high level problems from partners and work in small teams throughout the week to reformulate them into a mathematical approach. This initial work forms the foundation for future research, including PhD projects.

SAMBa students leading the way

Students from SAMBa worked closely with academic and industrial participants on developing research ideas, and presented their progress to the rest of the participants at the end of the week. The students’ ITT experience builds on a semester of discussion and training on relevant mathematical skills through the student-led symposium series. These symposia are designed and organised by the students themselves and form an invaluable part of the SAMBa training programme.

Malena Sabate Landman, a first year SAMBa student said: “I have learnt more than I imagined. I am returning to university with a lot of ideas and a complete new view of working with industrial problems.”

Research excellence

Research ideas are being pursued with partners, with the hope that a number of new studentships and collaborative projects will be supported in the future.

Federica Cattani from Syngenta said: “We went to ITT5 knowing we had a problem but not having a clear definition.

"We came back with the structure of the problem exposed, and a whole landscape of powerful approaches to tackle it, with clear ideas on what could or should be done and where the value is."

Chris Harbron from Roche added: "ITT5 was a great, energising experience. It was enlightening to spend a focused period of time with the SAMBa students exploring some of the challenging research problems that we face in the pharmaceutical industry.

"I was really impressed with the students’ technical capabilities as well as their enthusiasm, passion and communication skills, and was able to take away ideas of innovative ways to address problems which we may not otherwise have considered."

Looking forward to ITT6

The next ITT takes place in June with partners Schlumberger and the University’s Department of Chemical Engineering. If you’re interested in finding out more about the ITT model or attending an ITT week, please contact the SAMBa Centre Manager, Dr Susie Douglas.