The Client: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, LSTM, is the world’s first institution dedicated to research and teaching in tropical medicine. Today they train more than 500 students from over 70 countries around the world. They have won over £130 million of research contracts from some of the world’s largest and most eminent grant makers. LSTM have 260 staff in the UK and attract new talent from around the world as they make progress towards their goal of becoming the premier European institution in tropical international health.

The Challenge: Dr Stephen Ward leads an international team of research scientists working on developing an Anti Malaria vaccine suitable for distribution in the developing world countries. The ‘AntiMal’ consortium is a complex integrated project comprising leading groups of malaria researchers with expertise in malaria biology, chemotherapy and drug development drawn from around the world. The aim of the programme is to exploit new scientific and political opportunities to secure the development of a portfolio of viable, novel, anti-malarial drugs.

This consortium is funded by the European Union and the key scientists and researchers have spent most of their professional careers in the academic world. Increasingly they are having to interface with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and as a consequence need to acquire commercial and project management skills to appear credible when viewed by leaders in these more commercially orientated and less academic organisations.

The Work We Are Doing: We have developed and run a number of workshops that introduced this highly eminent and academic group of international researchers to the expected behaviours and practise of the commercial pharmaceutical world.

The first workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya covered the principles of team based project management and introduced the participants to the skills needed to work effectively in virtual teams.

The second workshop was held in Lausanne in Switzerland and focused on leadership and personal effectiveness skills. The professors, scientists and research students who attended left with a heightened sense of their own leadership style and the impact this style has on the people they need to influence. They also understood and more importantly had a chance to practise, how to modify their communication styles to suit the more commercially-centric world of the global pharmaceutical environment in which they increasingly have to compete and win.

The resulting increase in confidence and personal effectiveness will pay dividends in the future as the participants understand what it takes to effectively lead others and how best to interface with leaders in the commercial world.