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Ireland Affiliate Creates Opportunities for Members

Marcy Sanford
Ireland Affiliate Creates Opportunities for Members

Each year at the ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo, ISPE bestows the ISPE International Honor Awards on a select group of individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond to support ISPE. The Affiliate and Chapter Excellence Award recognizes the outstanding work of the International Affiliates and Chapters as reflected by membership development and services, management, industry and society support, and innovation. This year’s winners, the ISPE Ireland Affiliate, grew their membership by almost 15%, have a strong focus on supporting students and emerging leaders, started a podcast series, established new groups and committees based on member interest, and actively engaged with regulators and vendors all while hosting more than 20 events covering a variety of topics and establishing a plan for continued success.

The ISPE Ireland Affiliate won for their outstanding achievement in membership growth while increasing engagement through innovative approaches focusing on the needs of the local members. Events included a balance of educational and networking opportunities.

“They also focus on developing the workforce of the future and strengthening links and partnerships with regulators, special interest groups, and scientific bodies. They have proven success with their focus on the workplace of the future by connecting with students and emerging leaders.”

“We are committed to developing the ‘workplace of the future’ by connecting with our students and emerging leaders,” said Ireland Affiliate Board President Philip M. Gammell, Associate Director of Engineering, Astellas Pharma Inc. “Key to this is the development of student chapters and the introduction of the EduHub concept. Our aim is to have a student chapter in every third-level institution in Ireland. For each student chapter, an emerging leader is assigned to support and mentor that student chapter. Typically, this will be the alma mater of the emerging leader, so they will be ‘giving back’ to their academic institution, to support and mentor the students, who will become the future emerging leaders.” So far, TU Dublin, University College Cork, Munster Technological University, and Atlantic Technological University have all committed to building their student involvement with ISPE. From 2021 to the present, each university student group has run two events each year and, in many cases, invited the other student groups to join. Additionally, at each live Ireland Affiliate event, an EduHub track runs in parallel, where an industry leader provides a career talk, followed by interactive demonstrations of technologies being used and developed in the life science sector, as well as content for academic courses that reflect industry needs. The ISPE Ireland Affiliate plans to reach out to an additional three to four universities by the end of 2024.

The ISPE Ireland Affiliate Emerging Leaders started an ISPE podcast as an alternative method to deliver content that would benefit the ISPE network with advice on careers and also market the benefits of joining ISPE. Each podcast features an ISPE leader in Ireland or from another part of the world and is linked on the ISPE Emerging Leaders LinkedIn page. The podcast focuses on different leadership styles, how to find your leadership style, and how to shape your career as a leader within the industry. Since launching the podcast, listeners from more than 23 different countries have tuned in.

The ISPE Affiliate surveys attendees at every event and then incorporates that feedback into future events. A few examples of this are the opportunity for vendors to educate attendees about new technologies and services and networking sessions where speakers engage with attendees for informal Q&A discussions in addition to networking opportunities after presentations.

Additionally, the ISPE Affiliate helps connect members with the regulatory community. “We actively engage with regulatory bodies, primarily HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority),” said Gammell. “There are currently over 20 regulatory members in the ISPE Ireland Affiliate. HPRA members regularly attend ISPE Ireland events and engage openly with the ISPE community in Ireland. For example, an HPRA Senior Inspector presented at a recent Annex 1 event in Ireland and engaged openly with attendees in a networking session regarding the revised Annex 1.”

In addition to active Student Chapter, Emerging Leaders, and Women in Pharma groups, the ISPE Ireland Affiliate has re-established GAMP® Ireland, which had been dormant for a number of years and whose first live event, “Approaches to New Technologies in Life Science, Part 1,” was sold out. Pharma 4IReland was formed to promote Pharma 4.0 in Ireland with five to six events planned as virtual and live events, in addition to the formation of working groups such as Labs 5.0. One of the goals of the working group is to develop a Lab 5.0 roadmap and identify the skills and competencies needed for current and future lab professionals.

ISPE Ireland Affiliate leaders have also put practices in place to ensure the future success of the affiliate. “ISPE Ireland developed a strategic plan in 2020, which was refreshed in 2022. This sets out our vision of being the leading network for Life Sciences in Ireland, delivering unprecedented value and insights. As we look ahead, we will build on this vision, continuously innovating to serve our members better,” said Gammell. Monthly board meetings are held with attendance from board members and the leaders of each sub-committee. In addition, a minimum of two hybrid meetings are held each year where all board members and sub-committee members meet to review progress with current strategies and plans for future initiatives.

A series of documents have been professionally prepared for ISPE Ireland to support their initiatives and to ensure consistency of delivery among all ISPE Ireland Affiliate committee members:

  • ISPE Ireland Playbook
  • ISPE EduHub Playbook
  • ISPE Ireland Student Chapter Playbook
  • ISPE Ireland Member Roadshow

The playbooks provide detailed guidance for each focus area in an interactive format, in a concise, easy to follow manner. These playbooks have been distributed to all ISPE Ireland committee members and uploaded to ISPE Engage Ireland platform, where they are accessible by all ISPE Ireland members.

The Emerging Leaders committee is fully integrated with the main committee and participates in all board meetings – there is a clear succession plan, whereby Emerging Leader members transition from the EL group and take up leadership and membership positions on focus area sub committees. This ensures that the Emerging Leader group provides a continuous supply of members for main committee leadership positions.

Get more information about the Ireland Affiliate

ISPE has Affiliates and Chapters connecting members locally all across the globe. Find your Affiliate or Chapter.