Established in 2006 to serve our nation’s healthcare system, NMIMS Shobhaben Pratapbhai Patel School of Pharmacy & Technology Management has the vision to develop an excellent pharmacy school, incorporating pharmacy education and research, providing interdisciplinary education in the fields of pharmacy and management and cultivating globally competitive, self-reliant pharmacists by 2030. “Our School, under the aegis of SVKM’s NMIMS, is the first university in the country to provide an integrated degree in pharma and management. Our courses are designed to meet the needs of the expanding Pharma Industry and are reviewed regularly in consultation with our Board of Studies comprising eminent experts from the Pharma Industry, Research, FDA, and India’s leading academic institutions,” shares Dr. Bala Prabhakar, the Dean, NMIMS Shobhaben Pratapbhai Patel School of Pharmacy & Technology Management (SPPSPTM).
SPPSPTM has made considerable strides in the field of pharmaceutical education and research over the years due to the remarkable participation of its faculty and students in a variety of activities, supported by an excellent infrastructure. A significant focus on quality and industry readiness is reinforced by the active involvement of skilled and enthusiastic full-time and visiting faculty who bring a wealth of professional experience and knowledge. “We have researchers working in various fields, including nanotechnology, drug delivery, drug synthesis, computer-aided drug design, analytical method development, and phytochemical and pharmacological evaluation of pharmaceuticals, to mention a few,” states Dr. Bala Prabhakar. The courses and the practices at our campus are tailored to the requirements of pharmaceutical, cosmetic, excipient, medical device industries and hospitals. As per the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2022, India, by the Ministry of Education, SPPSPTM has been ranked 11th in the country among all Pharmacy Schools.
All about Being Industry-Ready
At SPPSPTM, industry relationships enable faculty members to comprehend the pharmaceutical industry’s research inclinations and engage in consultancy work with the companies. Faculty members collaborate with the industry, and their experience is utilised to solve challenges in industry research. Many of them work with industries on research projects that they fund, formulation development plans, analytical method development and validation, and efficacy and toxicity study of drugs and formulation, to name a few. Additionally, the school offers guest lectures by renowned industry personalities, scientists, and international professors, exposing SPPSPTM faculty and students to the latest developments in the healthcare sector.
Industrial training is a vital component of the curricula, through which faculty and students get excellent exposure to various processes in the industry. Besides that, frequent visits to the industry are undertaken to provide a better understanding of its operations. Furthermore, students at the campus have access to advanced instruments commonly utilised in industrial settings, allowing them to gain practical experience. The postgraduate students and research scholars work on collaborative projects with the industry. The courses place a great deal of emphasis on Industry interaction and hence, have the right balance of academic excellence and practical application.
The school has the membership of various national and international professional bodies, which provide a forum for better networking opportunities – Indian Drugs Manufacturing Association (IDMA), Confederation of Indian Industries (CII’s), Life Sciences Sector Skill Development Council (LSSSDC), The Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) and membership of International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).
SPPSPTM also invites faculty from foreign universities to take a few courses for UG and PG programmes. Recently, SPPSPTM invited faculty from the University of Mississippi, the USA, to deliver lectures in the area of pharmaceutics. Now, collaborations have become of utmost importance for the growth of students, faculty and institution. The school has collaborated with various national and international institutions of repute, including the University of Torino, Italy; University of Iceland; King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia; MAHSA University, Malaysia, for various research activities. The faculty are involved in collaborative research, which helps in understanding emerging trends in different areas of the healthcare sector, unmet needs concerning therapeutics etc. It enables faculty to upgrade the course content and course delivery.
Providing the Best of the best
SPPSPTM is a preferred destination for the bright, inquisitive and creative thinking students who wish to pursue pharmacy education. The students can also opt for various interdisciplinary courses offered by other Schools of NMIMS innovatively. The students can access multiple platforms like Coursera, MOOCS, and SWAYAM to acquire additional skills. As students advance from one year to the next, they foster bonds with their peers, built on the framework of teamwork, cooperation and collaboration. This is stimulated through various group interactions, including presentations, class discussions and debates, and the inculcation of teamwork through laboratory tasks. With a vast array of student-run committees and extracurricular initiatives, students have a delicate balance between intellectual development in the classroom and development outside of it. While the routine is undoubtedly demanding, to meet the industry’s standards and ever-changing needs, it is ensured that students create unforgettable memories along the way.
With the inclusion of events such as traditional day, sports day, corporate and cultural events etc.; celebration and recognition of several significant dates such as World Pharmacist’s day, World IP day, World Entrepreneurs day and others; Social responsibility activities like Svasthya, Aarogya, Kartavya and so on, will definitely create memories for students, which they will cherish long after they have moved on to the subsequent phases of their lives. The University also has a Student Council, which provides a platform for the students to organise various co-curricular and extracurricular activities. This allows the students to interact with students of other schools as well.
SPPSPTM features outstanding lab facilities with the latest equipment, an animal house facility, and good teaching and learning practices primarily focused on student feedback mechanisms. It is a model pharmacy school with the unique quality of offering integrated programs at the graduate and postgraduate levels. These courses are an amalgamation of technical knowledge of pharmaceutical sciences and business administration. “Our school also offers PhD programmes in pharmaceutical sciences. This programme is also available to industry candidates. SPPSTM’s student community is diverse, with students from all over India and overseas,” says Dr Bala.
The school provides 100% placement assistance to students. Most recently, the 2022 batch of students have received coveted job profiles and salary packages from corporate giants like Ernst & Young, ACG, Bharat Serum & Vaccines, Beckton Dickinson, Cognizant, Freyr Solutions, Glenmark Pharma, Grandview Research, IQVIA, Intas, J. B. Chemicals, Macleods, Nielsen, PharmaAce Analytics, Pharmarack, Sidvim Lifesciences, Stryker, Sun Pharma, Sundyota Numandis, Thermofisher, Torrent Pharma, Trichem, ZS Associates and Zydus Cadila. The Students have been offered sought-after profiles in Sales, Marketing, Consulting, Business Analytics, Digital Marketing, Operations, Project Management & many other diverse areas.
Showcasing Top-Notch Academics
SPPSPTM uses a unique method to identify faculty based on their exposure to the practice of their specialisation and on the depth of their knowledge of pharmaceutical instrumentation, equipment, and other related technologies. Each faculty member is responsible for the quality and content of classroom and laboratory instruction and is always on the lookout for pedagogical tools to improve the teaching-learning process and assessment, whether it is with online technology, procedures, or methods. The faculty recognises students’ specific requirements and provides challenging opportunities to grow academically. As a supplement to the usual classroom education, they are encouraged to provide students with academic and career guidance and encouragement through formal and informal consultations.
Faculty are always learning at SPPSPTM. To improve their knowledge, faculty are given free access to courses offered by various platforms such as Coursera, Swayam-MOOCS, and edX. To keep up with the latest industrial practices, faculty members are also encouraged by the university to attend summer training in the industry. Additionally, they are encouraged to participate in conferences around the country and across the globe to gain exposure to emerging technology that can be used in classroom teaching and research.
Several government institutions, such as DST and ICMR, have recognised the faculty at the national level by providing travel grants to participate in international conferences. “Our faculty are also actively involved in writing grants to the government agencies, consultancy, publication and patent-related activities, which add value to the faculty and the institute,” Dr Bala shares. Along the same lines, SPPSPTM faculty are collaborating with the industry on numerous research projects. They have also been working with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), Geneva, Switzerland, since 2017 for collaborative projects.
Promoting Young Spirited Thinking
At SPPSPTM, creativity is a key guiding force that drives the faculty and students. “We establish an atmosphere that fosters creativity, from cutting-edge teaching methods like case studies to simulate problem statements on an industrial scale,” informs Dr Bala. Providing a conducive environment that nurtures creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship skills, and design thinking and motivates students to create start-ups and generate intellectual property is a top priority for the Institutional Innovation Council, which has been in operation since 2018. There have been numerous occasions where students have excelled and brought honour to the School by participating in events such as Innovation Idea Challenge, Saudagar (The Business Plan Competition) by IIM Udaipur, Meraki (National Level Business Plan Competition) by Fortune Institute of International Business, New Delhi, AstraZeneca Project iDEA competition; Chancellor’s Challenge by NMIMS University, Hackathons, and many others. Through their entrepreneurial efforts, students also launch their own businesses and contribute to the economy by creating new jobs.
“Our faculty and students are talented in various creative and inventive disciplines, and their achievements are displayed on our bulletin boards to inspire aspiring researchers and entrepreneurs. Interspersed throughout the academic year are numerous corporate and cultural events that allow students to demonstrate their talents on an intercollegiate and national level,” Dr Bala shares. The students at SPPSPTM participate in a range of business plan and elevator pitch competitions, honing young marketers’ creative problem-solving skills. As an institute, the school is cognizant of the changing needs of society and the need to push past the limits of conventional thinking. “We aspire to raise change-makers of the future, and that starts with encouraging their creative genius from the moment they step foot in the institute,” says Dr Bala.
To promote Pharma studies, SPPSPTM provides scholarships for deserving students. Merck Lifesciences supports the education of female students of M.Pharm + MBA program every year through a scholarship under Merck Fellowship Program. This encourages female students from weak financial background to have access to exceptional academics and a fulfilling educational experience. The GPAT-qualified M.Pharm students are eligible for the AICTE postgraduate scholarship scheme. The University also offers scholarships to deserving PhD scholars. The students enrolled with the school are eligible to apply for various scholarships offered by professional bodies, trusts, etc.
The Future of Pharma
Education is one of the most swiftly evolving sectors to keep pace with the changing times, although the pandemic caused a massive, unprecedented blow to all major segments. During the pandemic, most sectors, including education, used the online mode for various activities. The pharma sector is one of the significant parts of the healthcare sector, and the pandemic provided a link for bridging the gap between pharma and other healthcare sectors. The use of the hybrid mode has become inevitable in the education sector, and various skill-building activities are conducted in this mode. National Education Policy 2020 also emphasises multidisciplinary learning, which is possible with the help of technological tools. “The future will be in integrating digital applications, various IT tools like IoT, ML and AI into pharma and healthcare sector which also will have to be part of the education and training of the current and future students” Dr Bala opines.
Due to the availability of virtual platforms, like most universities, the teaching-learning process at SPPSPTM adapted to the changing paradigms in the midst of the global pandemic. Though there was some difficulty in the practical experimentation and hands-on learning, which are integral to pharma education, they were able to create well-designed laboratory courses that could provide a bridging link between pre-existing knowledge and further learning, allowing students to gradually acquire the necessary practical acumen. In addition, other changes, such as the transition from remote learning to in-person classes, have necessitated a greater number of social interactions, which are gradually being encouraged through activities specifically designed for the purpose. Across all education sectors, there is a growing focus on students’ mental health and well-being, which has also been adopted by the pharma education sector. Efforts are being made to provide a platform for students to express their thoughts and concerns and a vibrant, comfortable environment conducive to learning. “We can now state with pride that we are all back on campus and that our progress is commendable. In fact, we are well prepared and have also acquainted ourselves with multiple digital learning modes,” shares Dr Bala.
For More Info: https://pharmacy.nmims.edu/