Britest Day 2017 - Innovation, impact... and inspiration

Britest's premier annual showcase and networking day has been hailed as an all-round success.

Taking the overall theme of  "Innovation and Impact" Britest Day 2017 attracted a strong showing from our corporate and academic membership, collaborative partners, and invited guests to a new venue, the suitably titled Inspiration Suite at the Village Hotel, Warrington.  

Delegates were treated to a series of high calibre presentations from thought leaders on topics ranging from Continuous Manufacture, to Intelligent Factories and Industry 4.0, all crucial to the future sustainability of the chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and associated chemical-using industries. An extensive  accompanying poster conference reinforced how the Britest toolkit and approach is playing an integral role in driving innovation to achieve tangible, real-world impact across short, medium and long-term project timescales. 

Presentation Highlights

Delegate feedback has already indicated that this year's speaking programme was of especially high quality. We were pleased to get an introduction to one of the newest additions to the Britest family by Cornelia Thieme, Biogen's Director of Global Manufacturing Science - Europe,

Hovione's Rui Loureiro, outlined the Portuguese based international pharmaceutical company's approach to developing continuous manufacturing processes, and the enabling role played by the Britest tools in that journey. Hovione's clear vision for, and implementation of, a systematic workflow to manage batch to continuous conversion added resonance to the title of Professor Paul Sharratt's talk, 'Batch to Continuous – an Opportunity Coming of Age.' In this, "one of the godfathers of Britest" reflected on the twenty years since the original BRITEST collaboration set out with a vision to replace "clumsy" batch processing, and tracked the readiness of the necessary innovations in process, facilities, information, and skills on a change/effort curve to show how the pieces are coming together. Professor Sharratt also noted parallels between Hovione's workflow and a 'fail-fast' batch to continuous approach arising from his own group at ICES, the Britest tools and a collaborative PhD project with Newcastle University in Singapore.

Similar reinforcing connections could be traced between our two other horizon scanning presentations from Andy Jones of AstraZeneca, and Professor Nilay Shah, of Imperial College London. Advocating the exciting potential offered by the so-called 'Intelligent Factory' concept - emerging technologies to modernise pharmaceutical and bio-processing development and manufacture for both small and large molecules - Andy Jones vividly sketched out future possibilities afforded by having a digitised design space, or virtual process model, based on well understood critical quality attributes. Both this vision, and Nilay Shah's "process systems engineering" view of how to maximise the impact of research in the world of big data and industry 4.0 - that manufacturing innovation can be supported by data analytics and modelling - fit well with Britest's long-standing commitment to driving innovation through process understanding, and our burgeoning capability to systematically map key material attributes and process parameters to Critical Quality Attributes, through Process Mapping.

Recognition for Innovation in Property Mapping

On the evening preceding Britest Day, our annual Members' Dinner culminated in the presentation of the John Borland Award for Innovation, which this year was awarded to Gavin Reynolds of AstraZeneca and Britest's own Martin Edwards for their work on the Development of Property Mapping, Inspired by a desire to get more from the existing Britest tools, and initially catalysed by support for a project from InnovateUK, AZ and Britest have successfully collaborated on the new approach. The resulting Property Maps are already being utilised alongside the existing Britest toolkit for a diverse range of both proactive and reactive problem solving tasks.

AstraZeneca's creative and active use of the Britest toolkit in 'everyday' work was also recognised in the Britest Day poster session where two of their entries covering the application of Britest tools to understand issues as varied as analytical sample preparation and the behaviour of pressure filtration systems beat off some stiff competition to pick up further prizes.  

Improving the Impact of Innovation

The afternoon of Britest Day was dedicated to two parallel workshops designed to inform two collaborative projects in which Britest is playing a key role that are tasked with improving the impact of innovation projects. The new, two-year Horizon 2020:SPIRE SPRING Project aims to enhance project return on investment by addressing the needs and barriers of those who make the decisions to adopt process innovations in industry, whilst the TKI (Netherlands Top Sector Alliance for Knowledge and Innovation) Modular and Flexible Business Models project has been working to create a breakthrough in the adoption of flexible modular product technology by developing and demonstrating a generalised business justification methodology based on the economic feasibility of flexible modular processing. Here we have been using the Britest tools to address, amongst other things, how to manage uncertainty in business forecasts and technical risk.

The workshops challenged delegates to explore and share their experiences and insight related to important practical questions around the impact of innovation:

  • What sorts of decisions do you need to make in order to implement innovative approaches to business needs?
  • What is the key information that make industry decision makers take notice of project outputs and proposals?
  • What noise and problems stop impacts from being realised?
The output of these sessions is being fed back into the overall analysis of both projects and will help inform improvements in how innovation is driven through to deliver impact at EU level. 

Registered Britest users can access further details and comprehensive post-event resources, including presentations and posters here

If you would like to find out more about the benefits and impact of being part of the Britest innovation community contact our CEO Gareth Jenkins.