The BPS is establishing a Diploma in Advanced Pharmacology to enable members to further their education in selected aspects of Pharma-cology. The course will be open to members of the Society and will consist of a programme of nine “units” carried out over two to three years. In designing the course, the Steering Group has attempted to provide a significant additional pharmacological education without appearing too onerous to employers/supervisors.

To gain the Diploma, participants will complete at least three core interactive workshops; up to three special interest pre- or post-symposium (‘bolt-on’) workshops; a dissertation and two presentations at BPS meetings. Award of the Diploma will be dependent on the participant completing a portfolio consisting of short reflective reports on each workshop. Portfolios will be assessed annually by the BPS Diploma Steering Group. The dissertation will be tutored and marked by designated BPS members.

The Diploma programme will be managed by Dr Judith Hall, under the guidance of the BPS Diploma Steering Group. The workshops will be organised and run by acknowledged experts (either from industry or academia) who are recognised for their communication expertise and working at the cutting edge of their science.

The Diploma will be unique in the UK and will act as a mechanism for continuing and updating education in Pharmacology, providing a range of networking opportunities, and raising the profile of the Society and of the subject.


Who is eligible and how do they apply?

The course is open to all areas of membership but preference will be given to members who are i) carrying out a Ph.D. in Pharmacology, ii) entering the discipline from another area (e.g. Biomedical Sciences or Medicine) or iii) working full time as researchers or technicians in academia and industry.

Applicants will be asked to submit a full c.v. together with a letter of support from their supervisor/line manager. Details on how to apply can be found in the Diploma website, which can be accessed via the Members area of the BPS site .


How much will it cost?

Each registrant will pay £100 to enter the course (plus BPS membership). Each workshop will normally cost £50 (academic rate) or £100 (industry rate).


What does the course consist of?

The course is designed with three components that make up nine units and would normally be expected to be completed over a two-to-three-year period. The three components comprise:

1.   Two presentations (one poster and one oral) to BPS meetings. The presentations will be made following normal abstract submission. The BPS will place these communications in a designated group in the programme. The exercise is primarily to present and contribute to the Society, thus if some registrants are unable to present novel data, publication of the abstract is not essential.

2.   Attendance at (a) at least three core workshops and (b) up to three symposium-associated special interest workshops. The initial workshops are now being organised.

It is planned to hold the first workshop on receptor pharmacology in July 2007. It is entitled ‘General and advanced receptor theory’ and will be held in Glasgow. It will comprise a morning session of presentations from 3-4 individuals, followed by an interactive/practical session in the afternoon.

We are hoping that all the workshops will have a similar format and that a draft timetable of workshops for 2007 and 2008 will be available by October 2006. The workshops will comprise both formal teaching/lecturing sessions and interactive sessions that allow discussion and group work. It is hoped that at least one core and one symposium-associated special interest workshop will be held at each major BPS meeting.

Workshops may also be planned in association with Focused meetings or arranged to be ‘stand alone’. Each participant will receive an attendance certificate and will also be required to submit a ‘reflective’ one-page report for each workshop.

a.  Core workshops

Each workshop will normally be for one day. The following are already being organised.

     i. Drug Discovery (Mark Christie)

     ii. Pharmacokinetics (Mark Christie)

     iii. Receptors (Billy Martin)

     iv. Molecular Pharmacology (Paul Skett/Ian McFadzean)

In addition, the possibility that Diploma participants may also be able to utilise existing BPS workshops, such as the annual statistics and integrative pharmacology short course, is under discussion.

b.  The symposium-associated special interest (or ‘bolt-on’) workshops

These will build upon selected BPS symposia. The workshop will be held either just before or just after the symposium with an organiser plus speaker(s) to allow a more dynamic approach to linking education with cutting edge research. This will allow Diploma registrants to gain access to key scientists in a more educational and informal setting. The format will be as for core workshops.

3.   Complete a 6,000 to 7,000 word dissertation. The title will be chosen from a list and the dissertation will be written under the e-mail guidance of a designated tutor. The dissertation will be marked by the tutor and by one other (either a member of the BPS with relevant interests or a member of the BPS Diploma Steering Group).

Each participant will build up a portfolio consisting of an abstract from each presentation, a one-page report from each workshop attended and the dissertation. The portfolio will be assessed annually by the BPS Diploma Steering Group Meeting. Following this meeting the participant will receive a report. To gain the award participants will be expected to demonstrate a reflective, critical appraisal of the material covered by the workshops and a good depth of understanding of the topic addressed by the dissertation.

For all general queries please contact Dr Judith Hall


Are you willing to help?

We have already recruited a number of volunteers to teach on the programme. However, we need further help as follows:


Billy Martin is putting together a series of receptor workshops. The organisation for the first is now advanced: it is entitled ‘General and advanced receptor theory’ and will be held in July 2007 in Glasgow. The workshop will comprise a morning session of presentations from 3-4 individuals, followed by an interactive/practical session in the afternoon. If you have not already contacted him and would like to be involved in helping with later workshops.

Mark Christie is organising a series of workshops on drug discovery and pharmacokinetics. He is also working to bring together various branches of expertise from industry.

Paul Skett and Ian Mcfadzean are organising a molecular pharmacology workshop that will deal with how molecular biology is used by pharmacologists.

Are you involved in organising a symposium, perhaps under the auspices of a special interest group? Would you be willing to organise a bolt-on workshop either just before or just after your symposium? If so, please contact Sue Brain for more details.

Workshop leaders will be eligible to receive travel and accommodation costs. Professor Rang has indicated that he would welcome the proceedings of educational symposia being published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. The journal’s policy would allow small payments to be made.


We are now seeking tutors for the dissertation component. Tutors should be full or retired members of the Society, with experience of supervising library-type projects in academia. The tutors will provide a title that is relevant to their expertise. If this title is selected by a participant, they will then work via e-mail with the tutor to plan and write the dissertation. We hope that sufficient tutors will volunteer to enable each tutor to supervise only one project at a time. We do not think this will be more onerous than supervising a university library project. We will be able to provide a book token in appreciation of this duty. The regulations for this component will be available on the website. To discuss this further please contact Jude Hall.