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Amorphous formulations to improve the bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs

  • Full or part time
    Dr N O'Reilly
    Dr P McLoughlin
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, March 02, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Post summary

Applications are invited from suitability qualified graduates for a PhD scholarship in the PMBRC funded by the SSPC. SSPC is a leading international research centre where the world’s top pharmaceutical industry and research academia collaborate to develop more effective medicines and pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. This project will be in the Medicines research strand of SSPC which focuses on the formulation of poorly soluble drugs and the development of personalized and age-appropriate medicines for patients.

This project will study the formulation of poorly soluble drugs. It is estimated that more than 60% of new drug molecules display poor aqueous solubility and there is an ongoing need to develop formulation strategies to improve the bioavailability of these drugs. This project will examine the use of amorphous drug formulations, specifically co-amorphous systems and amorphous solid dispersions. The student will study the how formulation and the spray drying manufacturing process impacts the stability and dissolution properties of the drugs. A range of analytical techniques will be used to characterise the formulations including XRD, solid state NMR, mDSC, DVS and in vitro dissolution studies. The downstream processing of these amorphous formulations into tablets will also be examined.

The scholarship includes a travel budget which will allow the student to attend a number of international conferences relevant to their research. In addition it may be possible to arrange a 3-month work placement with an SSPC industry partner or with an international academic partner during the programme, subject to certain criteria. The student will be based at the Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and will be part of a wider team of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers involved in drug delivery and drug product formulation research. As an SSPC-funded researcher, the student will be required to attend SSPC quarterly technical meetings to present their work with other researchers and industry partners.

Person specification



• The student must have a minimum 2.1 B.Sc. degree in Chemistry, Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Science (first class honours degree desirable).

Knowledge & Experience


• Prior relevant laboratory experience is essential


• Previous experience in drug product formulation and solid-state characterisation is desirable but not essential.
• Experience working in the pharmaceutical industry

Skills & Competencies


• Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see WIT’s English Language Requirements for details.
• Good communication skills are essential. The student will be required to regularly present their results at project meetings and international conferences.
• The successful candidate will be comfortable working as part of a multidisciplinary research team and on their own initiative.


• Previous experience in using statistical analysis or data modelling software

Further information

For any informal queries, please contact Dr Niall O’Reilly at email: or telephone: +00353 (0) 51 306167

For queries relating to the application and admission process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office via email or telephone +353 (0)51 302883.


Application procedure

Download the Research Postgraduate Application Form and return completed applications to , quoting WD_2020_01 in the email subject line. Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year full-time structured PhD programme

Stipend of €17,500 per annum, with fees paid by the funding agency.

The funding also provides a substantial materials and travel budget.

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