The Bernal Institute has established a strong program in pharmaceutical manufacturing research, focusing on the production and processing of pharmaceutical materials. This programme has its basis in field of crystallisation of heterogeneous catalysts, fluid mechanics and powder processing. We have combined this expertise and are applying it to the manufacture of pharmaceutical materials, probing the basis of crystallisation on large scales, modelling both fluid flow in reactors and processing complex powdered formulations. We have built this research programme from existing expertise and by recruiting new senior staff and strong junior staff. We lead two national research centres in pharmaceutical materials, the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre (PMTC), which have established an international reputation in this area for the Bernal Institute.
Currently, nine of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies are located in Ireland. These companies, together with a wide range of SMEs, are partners in SSPC and PMTC, together with nine other Irish academic institutions and a number of international collaborators in the UK, EU, US and in Switzerland. These centres are located within the Bernal Institute at the University of Limerick and work on research problems that are common across the pharmaceutical sector. These centres form a unique research ecosystem, funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SSPC, €78 million) and Enterprise Ireland (PMTC, €9 million) that harness the research capacities of the academic institutions and of industry. As part of the research programmes, we have a large number of PhD students who are provided with the opportunity to work directly with industry. As part of their training they spend three months in a laboratory at one of the member companies, providing them with excellent exposure to working in an FDA-regulated pharmaceutical environment, which augments their academic laboratory experiences.