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Guidance for evaluating the feasibility of oral medicinal product administration via Entreral Feeding Tubes

UCL School of Pharmacy

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
London United Kingdom Pharmaceutical Chemistry Pharmacy

About the Project

This studentship is funded by the European Paediatric Formulation Initiative (EuPFI). The Studentship is open to UK applicants and EU applicants who meet RCUK residence requirements, and covers tuition fees and a tax-free stipend for the duration of the three-year programme.

Enteral feeding for the preterm infant or critically ill neonate is a necessary means of providing nutrition and medications to this fragile patient group who are otherwise unable to breast or bottle feed. However, it is associated with several challenges and issues such as drug administration errors and dose variability . Successful drug delivery through enteral feeding tubes (EFTs) requires consideration of several aspects such as the dosage form to be used, formulation characteristics, administration technique, interaction with the feed the type of tube and placement site etc. The project aims to develop an in-depth knowledge of the use and issues of EFTs in the UK and throughout Europe. It involves investigating different feeding tubes, materials and sizes and HCP preferences. The information from these activities will help to develop a guidance for pharmaceutical companies to evaluate the administration of new oral paediatric drug products via EFTs. 

Main methods and techniques

Firstly a multi-modality approach will be employed in the development of an evidence-based guideline on use of EFTs. This will encompass

  • a systematic review,
  • qualitative interviews with key stakeholders
  • comparison of the recommendations against current practice
  • historical adverse event data analysis

Secondly a feasibility (invitro study) of administration through a feeding tube will be developed to assess different feeding tubes with different types of oral drug products. The evaluation of cutting-edge pharmaceutical analysis techniques will be performed, including liquid chromatography‐tandem mass spectrometry (LC‐MS/MS) analysis, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis.

Note: The student will be trained for these methods and it is desirable but not an essential requirement for application.

The strength of this study will be protocol design that will be developed to reflect current clinical practice in the administration of oral dosage forms in young children and accurate method development and validation for estimating drug concentration/recoverability. Mixed methods evaluation: exploratory analyses will be undertaken including in-depth interviews with a sample of participating HCPs to explore their experiences and views of taking part in the study.

Person specification

Applicants are expected to hold a first degree in pharmacy, pharmacology or pharmaceutics (minimum 2.1). Preferred postgraduate or other work experience includes Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biopharmaceutics or Clinical Pharmacy with academic/clinical experience. Some experience in generating and interpreting experimental data; creative approach to solving problems is also desirable. Analytically sharp, with demonstrated ability to locate, process and analyse qualitative and quantitative information from different sources. Applicants should be able to demonstrate how they can utilise scientific literature and other knowledge to assist work progression and understanding.

Applicants will also need to meet UCL MPhil/PhD entry and English Language requirements. See link for further details.

Applications from overseas applicants will be considered for a stipend only award, and will have to arrange their own additional funds for tuition fees, accommodation etc.


The provisional start date is 12th April 2021. The student does not have to be on site (UCLSOP) until the laboratory work is started. Due to Covid 19, there is still some uncertainty on dates when the laboratory will be completely open as usual. The initial work of the project i.e systematic review can be done remotely (from home).


How to apply

Applications must include CV, personal statement, and the contact details of two referees. Applications should be emailed to Ms Michelle Ward at


For any academic queries, please contact Dr Smita Salunke, Department of Pharmaceutics, UCL School of Pharmacy:  



The deadline for applications is 10th March 2021.

Funding Notes

The student stipend will be paid at UCL normal rates (stipend rate for 2020/21 is £17,285 with additional increments in Years 2 and 3 of the studentship).
To be eligible for a full award, applications are invited from UK and EU citizens who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship. Candidates must also have no restrictions on how long they can remain in the UK. Any EU student who starts the programme before 1st August 2021 will qualify for home fees.

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