Programme

Mobility Structure

The International master S-DISCO is a 2-year study programme (120 ECTS) in English: 90 ECTS (semesters 1-2-3) consist of face-to-face and on-line learning and 30 ECTS (semester 4) are dedicated to a master thesis.


The programme is preceded by a one-week summer school at Ghent University, starting with a half-day assessment of the selected candidates (compulsory), in order to help them identify sub-optimal starting competences. While one unit (i.e. Scientific communication) will be compulsory for all students, 2 additional units will be assigned to each student based on the results of the assessment.


The first semester follows immediately after the summer school at Ghent University and will introduce the students to the broad perspectives and basics of sustainable drug discovery. At the end of the first semester, students will go to Lille for the S-DISCO day, organized at the University of Lille. During this day, students will be exposed to the research activities of doctoral, postdoctoral and senior researchers.


The programme continues with the second semester when students move together to the Medical University of Gdańsk, where more in-depth courses on e.g. molecular modelling, omics and green analytics are given.


The third semester takes place at the University of Lille or the University of Groningen. The different stages in the drug discovery process up to drug development are discussed, i.e. screening, target identification and validation, hit-to-lead, preclinical studies up to first-in-human trials. By selecting the appropriate mobility track, students will be able to become more proficient in certain aspects of drug discovery by benefitting from the specific expertise of the selected partner university.


The final semester is dedicated to the execution and writing of the master thesis. The thesis is performed under the supervision of a lecturer of one of the four consortium universities and will preferentially take place at an international (incl. non-academic) partner worldwide.

S-DISCO Mobility

September

Ghent University

Summer school

Semester 1

Ghent University

Basics of sustainable drug discovery


University of Lille

S-DISCO day (January)

Semester 2

Medical University of Gdańsk

Molecular modeling, omics and green analytics

Semester 3

University of Groningen

Green chemistry, lead-to-patient and pharmacokinetics


University of Lille (online)

S-DISCO day (January)

University of Lille

Sustainable sources, hit-to-lead and target validation


University of Lille

S-DISCO day (January)

Semester 4

Worldwide

Master thesis

Study Programme

The full programme with courses is shown below:

Semester 1

Course
Lecturer
ECTS

Comparative study of drug discovery approaches

and technologies

S. Van Calenbergh

6

Sustainable landscape of pharmaceutical discovery

B. De Spiegeleer

6

Pharmaceuticals in the environment

E. Wynendaele

6

Data intelligence in sustainable drug discovery

K. De Preter

6

Regulatory affairs life cycle of medicines

B. De Spiegeleer

3

Elective course

3

Semester 2

Course
Lecturer
ECTS

Green analytics

B. Wielgomas

6

Omics in drug discovery

M. Markuszewski

6

Understanding off-target effects as a key to sustainable drug design

R. Bartoszewski

6

Computational methods in drug design

A. Kornicka

6

Viruses as sustainable drug targets and pharmaceutical platforms

E. Król

3

Elective course

3

Semester 3

Course
Lecturer
ECTS

Sustainable sources of new hits

A. Ghinet

6

Sustainable approaches to identify hits

P. Brodin

6

Sustainable approaches to optimize leads for in vivo studies

C. Furman

M. Montes

6

Sustainable approaches to validate target engagement

I. Landrieu

6

Advanced drug discovery chemistry

N. Willand

3

Elective course

3

Semester 3

Course
Lecturer
ECTS

From lead to patients

P. Olinga

5

Advances in sustainable drug discovery and engineering

F.J. Dekker

5

PK-PD in sustainable drug discovery

P.H.C. Aberg

5

Green Chemistry

G.J. Poelarends

5

Pharmaceutical technology and nanomedicines

H.W. Frijlink

5

Elective course(s)

5

Only the main, responsible lecturers are given in this Table. However, for most courses, a considerable number of co- and guest lecturers of the consortium-partners and industry have been identified.

Learning Outcomes

The major educational objectives of the S-DISCO programme are to:

  1. Understand, evaluate and compare the different fundamental drug discovery concepts and processes, including common problems and possible solutions.
  2. Integrate key concepts of drug discovery to elaborate on specific drug discovery processes.
  3. Describe and apply sustainability principles within a drug discovery context.
  4. Understand the importance and impact of sustainability in drug discovery within local and global health-systems.
  5. Explain how and where ecologic and socio-economic systems interact to influence sustainability in the drug discovery process.
  6. Consider and include sustainability in drug discovery decision making.
  7. Analyse and explain regional and global sustainable drug discovery using a transdisciplinary and holistic approach.
  8. Possess a global collaborative culture by building upon others’ ideas and treating team members with respect.
  9. Integrate a sustainability attitude and participation in personal and professional life.
  10. Be able to clearly present (orally and in writing) and argument conclusions in dialogue with colleagues and laymen in international contexts.

Career Opportunities

Our graduates will be trained to find creative and innovative solutions for the various challenges in the pharmaceutical field. Emphasis is on the crucially important discovery phase, taking into account environmental, ecological and socio-financial sustainability aspects. Workforce shortages exist for almost every position within the pharmaceutical and related industries, and scientists with the skills offered by our master program are extremely in-demand by the industry. Moreover, both national medicine-competent authorities as well as international agencies, such as EMA, FDA or WHO, will look for our high-level graduates. The same is true for civil society organizations, such as NGOs, working in this field. Finally, our graduates will have acquired useful competencies for further academic studies, i.e. Ph.D., thereby deepening the drug discovery field while propagating the sustainability viewpoint in pharmaceutical research and education.

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