Virtual reality training to ensure future workforce needs

A first-of-its-kind pilot to provide augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) training to develop the knowledge and skills needed for a career in Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) development has been launched.

Teaming up to deliver the project is the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) and Miltenyi Biotec.

This cutting-edge training – set to be delivered through the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN) – will enable users to experience technologies and equipment used in process manufacturing. This exciting collaboration showcases the Miltenyi Biotec CliniMACS Prodigy ® – an automated, flexible and closed system which streamlines workflows and can simplify the manufacturing process for immunotherapies.

Marcus Crossley, senior project manager at the AMRC, said: “This VR/AR demonstrator is really pushing the boundaries in showcasing how companies could provide cutting-edge training to people at the start of their career and also upskilling and supporting existing staff members worldwide.

“This is an excellent example of cross-catapult centre collaboration and shows the expertise industry can access within the two organisations. Allowing participants to use state-of-the-art technology greatly enhances their learning experience and adds value by speeding up people’s familiarity and confidence in using the manufacturing equipment. Being able to bring in experts to this immersive experience from anywhere in the world is a very powerful training capability.”

Commenting on the partnership, Matthew Durdy, chief executive of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, said: “The availability of skills and suitably experienced people is a source of international advantage for the UK. We are proud to be working with AMRC and industrial partners like Miltenyi to make sure that the UK is the ‘go to’ place for cell and gene therapy development and manufacturing.”

The AR/VR training programme is being developed as part of the ATSTN, a wider initiative intended to support the future skills needs of the cell and gene therapy industry. This will ensure that the industry has a strong pipeline of highly skilled workers to respond to rapidly growing demand. The immersive training programme has been developed by the AMRC, in collaboration with the CGT Catapult, and will be located in Stevenage, Hertfordshire…Read more