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Focused life science professional pipetting human serum media containing HIV infected cells from petri dish to microtiter plate. High protection degree work.

Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network comes to Birmingham

The University of Birmingham has been confirmed as the third National Training Centre in the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN) initiative.

The initiative is designed to develop and deliver specific practical skills to address the growing need in the UK for skills in vaccine and advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) manufacturing.

As one of the three initial National Training Centres, BHP founder-member the University of Birmingham will deliver advanced technology courses on-site in collaboration with local companies and institutions to provide training complementary to the ATSTN initiative. These include modules on ATMP manufacturing design and clinical adoption, as well as documentation and implementation of ATMPs, which will be delivered as a combination of on-site, online learning and virtual reality modules.

The first courses will be launched in September 2021 and will cover the fundamental aspects of ATMPs and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). The University of Birmingham will also offer master’s degree level modules on GMP standards, which are a vital requirement for the authorisation, manufacture, and commercialisation of ATMPs.

Professor Phil Newsome, Director of Research in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, commented: “We are delighted to provide our leading expertise, playing such a pivotal role in delivering these much-needed skills for the UK’s advanced therapies sector. This collaboration between industry and academia will create a truly world-class offering, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of the manufacture and delivery of vaccines and advanced therapies. Moreover, it will further strengthen and leverage the rapidly-growing health and life science sector in Birmingham and the Midlands.”

The National Training Centres are a part of the ATSTN initiative, which also includes an online training platform to provide remote learning for those currently working in the vaccine manufacturing and advanced therapy industry, and a ‘career converter’, which maps an individual’s transferrable skills from adjacent sectors into recommended roles for this industry.

The ATSTN, driven by industry and coordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult), was launched in December 2020 with £4.7m in funding awarded from BEIS. The initiative was designed in collaboration with industry to create opportunities to upskill, through digital and practical on-site courses, current professionals and leverage skills from individuals coming from other sectors.

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive Officer, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, commented: “The UK ATMP industry is expanding rapidly, and to support that tremendous growth the industry needs skilled people. The UK is making one of the biggest commitments anywhere in the world to training in this sector, keeping it as the “go to” place for the cell and gene therapy industry. As part of the ATSTN programme, the University of Birmingham is well placed to develop and deliver high-impact training courses utilising its world leading delivery technologies”.

Sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), ATSTN’s national training centres includes RoslinCT with its academic partners and the National Horizons Centre.