Academic Pharmacy

Whether it’s teaching, researching, practising or a mix of all three, Academic pharmacists enjoy exciting careers in universities, research institutes and other organisations throughout the world.

Academic pharmacists educate, train, assess and develop pharmacy students, pre-registration trainees, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. You will use and apply your pharmacy knowledge and expertise to teach the next generation of pharmacists through a variety of teaching methods. Working alongside the wider educational team, you will update the degree programme and develop learning material to reflect changes in education and practice. Academics also offer general support to students and are often viewed as role models and mentors.

Teacher practitioners have a split role, spending on average around 60% of their time working in hospital, community or industrial pharmacy and 40% of the time as a lecturer.

Academic pharmacists are also thought of as researchers, as the role usually involves conducting some form of research, e.g. in a science based area of practice, drug design or pharmacy services. You will collect evidence, analyse it and use this data to make improvements to medicines and patient’s health. You will be thought of as an expert.

Clinical Academic Roles

Clinical academic pharmacy combines a clinical role with a research role, bringing together the advantages of both roles. 

You will work in a traditional clinical setting, e.g. hospital or community pharmacy, developing your clinical skills, and will be undertaking research at the same time. Your research will usually contribute to your day to day practice and will have an impact on patient care.

There are many paths that can be taken to establishing a clinical academic career, one of which is the HEE/NIHR Clinical Academic Programme for non-medical professionals (ICAP) which has recently become available in England. There is not currently an equivalent scheme in Scotland or Wales. 

Funding awards will usually cover your salary, fees and expenses incurred whilst you are training and conducting your research.

Case study

Mahendra Patel

Academic, University of Huddersfield

Being an academic pharmacist has given me the fantastic opportunity of engaging at the very forefront of science, technology and practice sparing little chance for boredom to set in – without doubt it is a career that is rich in variety and individuality, offering stimulation and excitement throughout with uncompromising personal satisfaction and pride.

Academic pharmacists not only have highly regarded customary roles as lecturers and professors, some may decide to pursue senior management positions within the university and become heads of departments and schools. Others may choose to act as consultants and senior advisors for local, regional, national, and international organisations and institutions, as well as governmental bodies. Often they are at the cutting edge of the profession and are instrumental in influencing pharmacy development, policy, and practice. Their depth and breadth of knowledge in terms of teaching, research and health care service and utilisation can lead to various opportunities within science as well as professional practice.