The Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Engineering (hereafter abbreviated as MPE) is an English-taught programme. It consists of 120 credits and is unique in Flanders and Belgium. The inflow in the master programme is provided from bachelor programmes in pharmaceutical sciences, bio-science engineering, chemistry, bio-industrial sciences and bioscience engineering technology (module biotechnology) and international students with similar previous education.
The way medicines have been produced during the last decades, is mainly based on inefficient, suboptimal and not very sustainable batch processes for which final product quality is evaluated via off-line laboratory testing conducted on limited randomly collected samples after production. The strict regulations for the production of medicines were also a “bottleneck” for manufacturing innovation. However, the legislative authorities (such as FDA, EMA) in the early 2000s urged to make (bio-)pharmaceutical manufacturing processes more science-based, more efficient, more flexible and based on in-process quality monitoring and control.
The vision of the MPE programme is that pharmaceutical production processes of the future will (need to) undergo a major transition to be able to manufacture the increasingly complex and more tailor-made/personalized drug products. On the one hand the implementation of novel manufacturing concepts (e.g., switching from batch to continuous manufacturing) is needed and on the other hand a high degree of digitalisation and automation (implementation of “industry 4.0” concepts such as soft sensors and digital twins) is essential. It requires a combination of pharmaceutical and engineering knowledge and skills to develop these pharmaceutical production processes of the future for tomorrow’s drug products and supply needs. Hence, these transitions will lead to new job and skill requirements.
A Master in Pharmaceutical Engineering should be able to design and develop innovative, flexible, cost-efficient, automated and sustainable processes for the production of future complex and individualized drug products, enabling targeted delivery of the active molecules into the human body.