On 21 April, the 6th International Research and Methodology Conference "Approaches to Improving Pharmaceutical Education. Creation of New Physiologically Active Substances" opened at Voronezh State University. The conference was organised by VSU and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.
The rector of VSU, Professor Dmitry Endovitsky, welcomed the participants of the event:
'VSU has an advanced faculty of pharmaceutics. Pharmaceutics is a result of joint efforts, talents and knowledge of chemists, biologists, physicists, and medical specialists aimed at solving important human health and life quality issues. It is not a secret that the requirements of employers regarding the quality training for young specialists are very high. Together with academic staff, they are searching a model that will help train specialists who will then be in high demand. Today we are making a foundation for advancing pharmaceutical education to a new level by creating a unique programme that will be the first Russian Industrial Pharmacy master's degree. A master's degree in Pharmaceutics is quite innovative for the industry. What is more, the graduates of the programme will become specialists of a higher level than regular pharmacists - they will work for pharmaceutical enterprises. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation chose VSU as a pilot university to launch the programme. We are proud to take the responsibility.'
Alexey Slivkin, the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutics of Voronezh State University, then gave the floor to the first speaker of the plenary assembly of the conference, Valery Artukhov, the dean of the Faculty of Biology and Soil Sciences. His speech "New Trends in the Development of Biomedicine at the Faculty of Pharmaceutics and the Faculty of Biology and Soil Sciences" was dedicated to biomedicine, its origin and history, and new trends. He emphasized that the Pharmaceutics and Biology infrastructure should be used to develop medicine. He also pointed out that by supporting biomedical research today we can make a breakthrough in healthcare tomorrow.
An honourable guest of the conference, the Deputy Director for Research of the Research Institution of Pharmaceutics, Natalia Pyatigorskaya, also spoke at the plenary assembly. She talked about the modern state of pharmaceutical education:
'It may appear strange, but the pharmaceutical industry has been developing today faster than IT technologies. According to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, the pharmaceutical industry takes second place in demand for employees and employment level. It means that universities have to take into account employer needs and modern trends and have to bring educational standards in line with occupational standards.'
Natalia Pyatigorskaya also told the audience that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security had approved the occupational standard for a pharmacist speciality that will be used for the primary accreditation of graduates of faculties of pharmaceutics and dentistry. Finally, Alexei Slivkin talked about the goals and issues of modernization of the pharmaceutical education with due regard for new trends in the pharmaceutical industry.
After the plenary assembly the conference was divided into two sections: "Professional Training of Pharmaceutical Specialists" and "Creation, Research, and Marketing of Medicinal Products". During the first session, Natalia Pyatigorskaya spoke in detail about the new master's programme of Voronezh State University.
'In my judgement, only 10 percent of pharmacists working in the medicine distribution industry have a corresponding degree. Such employees should be given the chance to get a second higher education, without age restrictions, and obtain the knowledge they could not receive when studying for their first degree. This is a very flexible system: chemistry and biology students can do the master's course and gain the competences demanded by employers that will offer them employment benefits and opportunities to move ahead. Why was VSU chosen to launch the pilot programme? It is a classical university that offers classical, fundamental programmes that cannot always be found in medical universities. Moreover, your academic staff is another reason that influenced the choice,' said Natalia Pyatigorskaya.
Among the participants of the two day conference were lecturers of higher and secondary educational institutions, researchers, postgraduate students, representatives of the administration of health authorities, and pharmaceutical specialists.