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Gareth Jenkins presenting at "Reopening laboratories: sharing best practice"

Gareth Jenkins presenting at "Reopening laboratories: sharing best practice"

About this Event

The nationwide lockdown due to the spread of COVID saw an impressive response from the chemicals industry and research community, both from companies that continued through lockdown and had to quickly adapt their working practices as well as organisations like Nottingham who rapidly closed laboratories for all but essential research. Researchers were suddenly adapting to working from home and communicating with their team in a virtual environment. But it's arguable that an even bigger challenge has come in planning towards the reopening of laboratories with the many new restrictions and guidelines in place.

This event is an opportunity to hear from representatives from the chemicals industry and academia who will reflect on the experiences of reopening and operating chemistry facilities within the current Government guidelines and will share not only their approach but also the learnings that have come out of this work.

Speakers include:

Dr Bethan Warren- Applications Scientist at Croda

I am an applications scientist within the Energy Technologies group at Croda and am also the health and safety representative for this team within the laboratories.

As Croda is a global company with both manufacturing and R&D sites we have had to adapt throughout the pandemic, based on the specific site and the local guidelines. I work within the R&D team at Cowick Hall and as a site we closed down completely through the UK lockdown, however all our UK manufacturing sites remained operational, with adaptations. At Cowick the R&D teams were first to return to site at the end of May and since then we have slowly increased the building occupancy, often making changes each week as we learn more about what does and doesn’t work. Having learned from the reopening of the lab building we are now at a position where the rest of the site is slowly being populated, with the safety of all staff the priority.

Dr Selina Tang- Technical Manager at Promethean Particles

As the Technical Manager at Promethean Particles, I oversee all of our technical work on nanomaterial development and scale-up; this includes our R&D projects and new product development.

After the Government announcement about lockdown, we decided to close our site on Tuesday 24th March and, where possible, staff began working from home. All production, orders and experimental aspects of our R&D projects were put on hold and our customers were informed of the status. From the 1st of April, a portion of our staff who were unable to work from home were placed on furlough.

As the Government announced in mid-May that some restrictions were easing, and that some businesses could re-open (e.g. manufacturing) we planned out how we could re-open safely. I worked with our Technical Director to map out the measures and procedures we needed to put in place to do this, while following Government guidelines and completing our own risk assessments. Staff were consulted during this process to ensure everyone was happy and comfortable with measures being proposed. After all our plans were put in motion, we successfully re-opened our site on the 26th May and resumed our operations.

Dr Gareth Jenkins-Chief Scientific Officer at Arcinova

Arcinova is a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) providing multiple services across pharmaceutical development and clinical trials manufacture. As Chief Scientific Officer, I am responsible for Arcinova’s Science and Technology strategy to simplify, intensify and accelerate the drug development process for our clients.

We built our response to the COVID-19 pandemic based on three simple principals: to protect our staff; to protect our business; and to protect our client’s patients. Of our 150 staff, around 100 work in a laboratory setting supporting ongoing pre-clinical and clinical work. Clinical trials involve testing new medicines in patients and as such it was essential that we maintained supply throughout the UK lockdown. We began preparations in mid-March with a fantastic staff response to implement social distancing and increase cleaning regimes within a few days of the lockdown starting. We enabled around 40 staff who could work from home to do so and furloughed a small, clinically vulnerable, group of around 10 – all of whom are now safely returned to work. There were plenty of staff concerns as we moved into this ‘new normal’ which were just as important to manage as the physical changes to the facility and we took steps to significantly increase communications and provide additional employee support. The rate of change has slowed but there continue to be accommodations to consider and implement and I will share examples of what worked well, what changed temporarily and what might have changed for good.

Professor Pete Licence, Professor of Chemistry, Deputy Director of the Green Chemicals Beacon and Director of the University’s GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry will introduce the event and facilitate the Q&A sessions.

There will be the opportunity to ask questions throughout the session as well as a panel discussion at the end of the session.

This event is the next in the series of the Sustainable Chemicals Industry Forum which was set up with the aim of assisting companies in developing and implementing more sustainable chemical processes and products.

To register and for more information please visit

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