March / April 2024

Ireland Affiliate Creates Opportunities for Members

Marcy Sanford
Ireland Affiliate Creates Opportunities for Members

Last year at the 2023 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo, the Ireland Affiliate received the ISPE International Honor Award for Affiliate and Chapter Excellence. The 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.

“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,” said Tom Hartman, President and CEO of ISPE.

“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 (EL).”

Last year, the ISPE Ireland Affiliate grew their membership by almost 15%, had 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. It did this all while hosting more than 20 events covering a variety of topics and establishing a plan for continued success.

Supporting Students

“We are committed to developing the workplace of the future by connecting with our students and Emerging Leaders,” said Ireland Affiliate Board Pres-ident Philip M. Gammell, Associate Director of Engineering, Astellas Pharma Inc. “Key to this is the development of Student Chapters and the introduc-tion of the EduHub concept.” At EduHub events, an industry leader provides a career talk and interactive demonstrations of technologies being used and developed in the life sciences sector which provides content for academic courses that reflect industry needs.

“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 it. Typically, this will be the alma mater of the Emerging Leaders, 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, Technological University Dublin, University College Cork, Munster Technological University, and Atlantic Technological University have all committed to building their student involvement with ISPE. Since 2021, each university student group has held two events each year and, in many cases, invited the other student groups to join. Additionally, an EduHub track runs in parallel at each live Ireland Affiliate event. The ISPE Ireland Affiliate plans to reach out to an additional three to four universities by the end of 2024.

Podcast Launch

The ISPE Ireland Affiliate Emerging Leaders started a podcast as an alternative method to deliver content that would benefit the ISPE network. 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. It also offers career advice and markets the benefits of ISPE membership. Each episode features an ISPE leader and is linked from the ISPE Emerging Leaders LinkedIn page. Since its launch, the podcast has had listeners from more than 23 different countries tune in.

Regulatory Connections

Additionally, the ISPE Ireland Affiliate is helping connect members with the regulatory community. “We actively engage with regulatory bodies, primarily HPRA [the 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, EL, and Women in Pharma® groups, the ISPE Ireland Affiliate has re-established GAMP Ireland, which had been dormant for a number of years and had its first live event, “Approaches to New Technologies in Life Science, Part 1” sell out. Pharma 4IReland was formed to promote Pharma 4.0™ in Ireland and has planned up to six events (virtual and live) and formed working groups like Labs 5.0. One of the goals of the Labs 5.0 working group is to develop a Labs 5.0 roadmap and identify the skills and competencies needed for current and future lab professionals.

Looking to the Future

ISPE Ireland Affiliate leaders have also put practices in place to ensure the future success of the Affiliate and its events. Attendees at every event are surveyed and then that feedback is incorporated 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 in addition to networking sessions after presentations.

Strategic Plan and Meetings

“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 and 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, which are attended by board members and the leaders of each subcommittee. In addition, a minimum of two hybrid meetings are held each year during which all board members and subcommittee members meet to review progress with current strategies and plans for future initiatives.

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 Emerging Leaders group and take up leadership and membership positions on subcommittees for different focus areas. This ensures that the Emerging Leaders group provides a continuous supply of members for leadership positions in the main committee.

Playbooks and Surveys

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 and concise, easy-to-follow manner. These playbooks have been distributed to all ISPE Ireland committee members and uploaded to the ISPE Engage Ireland platform, where they are accessible by all ISPE Ireland members.

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