Welcoming Marlous van der Hooft: Leading Scitech’s Expansion into Germany

Having nearly two decades of expertise in establishing, managing and leading radiopharmaceutical manufacturing processes, facilities, and sites, Marlous is well-respected within the field. Marlous’s exceptional track record includes the successful launch of 13 production sites across Europe, both for principal and contract manufacturing. Her dedication and leadership have left an indelible mark on the industry, setting the stage for operational excellence and continuous improvement.

With a background in pharmaceutical microbiology, Marlous’s proficiency spans a wide spectrum – from lean manufacturing and process enhancement to quality control, QC method development, validation and compliance, supply chain management, regulatory strategy and medicines licensing.

Marlous’s appointment as Scitech GmbH Managing Director and General Manager underscores our commitment to driving innovation and expanding our horizons. As an integral part of the Scitech family, Scitech GmbH will provide quality and regulatory consulting, qualification and validation services, design and engineering and other consultancy support within the traditional pharmaceutical environment, primarily in German-speaking Europe. Additionally, Scitech GmbH will also operate as a global centre of excellence in radiopharmaceuticals, supplementing and drawing on the extensive proficiency of subject matter experts from across the Scitech group. 

Marlous’s extensive knowledge and visionary leadership are poised to elevate Scitech’s presence in Germany and beyond. 

Marlous said: “I am delighted to lead Scitech’s expansion into Germany, a vibrant hub of scientific innovation and collaboration. This presents an extraordinary opportunity for Scitech to further solidify its presence on the global stage, contributing to groundbreaking advancements in radiopharmaceutical manufacturing. Together, we will unlock new possibilities, forge impactful partnerships, and continue to drive excellence in delivering cutting-edge solutions to benefit patients and the healthcare community.”

We warmly welcome Marlous van der Hooft to the Scitech family and eagerly anticipate the incredible contributions she will make as we venture into new frontiers.

Empowering Women at Scitech: Overcoming workplace challenges with confidence

In our latest initiative to support professional growth of our female colleagues, our Women at Scitech group recently held an empowering session aimed at helping women break through workplace barriers. Colleagues from across Scitech’s various offices took part in an enriching interactive session led by the experienced Executive Coach and Trainer, Anne Messer, Managing Director of Bespoke Training Services.

The session revolved around addressing common challenges faced by women in the workplace, with a specific focus on imposter syndrome, lack of confidence, and assertiveness. These obstacles have been known to hinder individuals from reaching their full potential and delivering their best work.

As a coach and an industry expert, with specific experience of designing and delivering leadership programmes for women, Anne Messer was the perfect facilitator for creating awareness to support personal and professional growth.

During the interactive session, Anne delved into the concept of imposter syndrome, which plagues even the most accomplished individuals. Attendees were encouraged to share their experiences and challenges openly, fostering a supportive environment where everyone felt heard and understood.

The session also covered strategies to build self-confidence and establish a distinctive ‘personal brand.’ By encouraging participants to recognise their unique strengths and talents, Anne encouraged everyone to leverage these qualities to their advantage.

A significant focus of the training meeting was on assertiveness – a skill vital for women to assert themselves confidently in the workplace particularly in male dominated sectors. Anne provided practical tips and techniques to empower attendees, equipping them to navigate challenging situations with grace and effectiveness.

Anne Messer, Executive Coach and Trainer said: “Success and fulfilment in the workplace come from embracing your uniqueness, believing in your capabilities, and fearlessly pursuing your goals, even in the face of imposter syndrome. Remember, you are your greatest asset, and when you conquer self-doubt, you unleash your true potential, making the possibilities truly boundless.”

Participants left the training meeting armed with tools to conquer the obstacles that may have been holding them back in their professional journeys.

“We believe that fostering an inclusive and supportive environment is crucial for the success of every individual in our organisation,” said Emma Dawas, HR Manager at Scitech. “Through this session, we aimed to empower our female colleagues, providing them with the skills and confidence to excel in their roles.”

The Women at Scitech group plans to continue organising such initiatives regularly, striving to create an equitable workplace where talent and dedication are nurtured, regardless of gender. By investing in the growth and empowerment of its members, Scitech reaffirms its commitment to creating a diverse and progressive work environment.

Exploring the opportunities that process and chemical engineering can provide for humanity: My week at Scitech

Godalming College student, Jake, blogs about his week of work experience at Scitech.

From a very young age I have always been interested in how humans have helped people with medical illnesses or conditions to improve or extend their lives. In particular I am fascinated by how a seemingly small or insignificant thing such as capsule or tablet can help people live healthier and happier daily lives around the world. To me it encapsulates how human intelligence and endeavour has overcome challenges to make the world a better place. The science behind what happens in medicine is truly amazing! I am keen to study biomedical sciences at university and was extremely fortunate that Scitech agreed to offer
me one week’s work experience in July 2023.

Introduction to Scitech – a leading consultancy, engineering and construction company

I started my week with an office orientation and introduction to Scitech from my mentor Hazel. I was impressed to hear about the broad range of services and expertise Scitech offer to their customers ranging from mechanical engineering, architecture, process engineering to computer aided design and project management. In particular, I found the overview on building services very interesting because I had not considered how intrinsic planning makes sure the building is safe for use and also is needed before the project can even start. I was shown how the pressure gradients were controlled to ensure safety which I found interesting as I had learnt about pressure gradients in biology this year.

The monoclonal antibody manufacturing process

Hazel then introduced a research project they requested I work on during my week, for me to present back to a small group on Friday. It was exciting as not only was I being given a view of the type of work Scitech carry out, I was also being challenged to create something to deliver as though I was an employee of the company! I really appreciated being given this challenge so I could do my own research and think around a topic and be able to contribute back with some of my thoughts and ideas at the end of the week, rather than receiving information and trying to memorise them back as though I was at college. This is what I will need to do in a work environment so I thought it was a great idea and would help me to feel engaged and part of their team. In my case, I was asked to research on the monoclonal antibody (mAb) manufacturing process, which in a nutshell is an approach for creating a type of protein in a lab which can attach to cancer cells to diagnose and treat different cancers and other diseases.

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility

On Tuesday I was given an overview of architecture from Matt, and health and safety from Brian, which was interesting as I learned that health and safety is essentially everyone’s responsibility in the office and we looked at some fascinating real life examples. I was also really impressed by the range of buildings implemented by Scitech.

Wednesday was when Nadira gave me an overview of building services where she explained how factors such as radioactivity and air circulation had to be considered. During most of the afternoon I carried on my research project and started to formulate my presentation structure as well as speaking to Ali about his take on the expanding world of biology.

On Thursday and Friday I worked fully on my project on my computer at my desk, making me feel as though I was an employee in an office conversing with colleagues. I spent the time creating a PowerPoint slide deck to deliver on Friday, and I tried to make sure I could create visually appealing slides with good content for the team to digest. In addition to this, Hazel gave an overview of many different types of laboratory equipment Scitech use, and then asked me to fill in the specifications of the equipment which was insightful.

On Friday, finally it was time to deliver my presentation to the group. I must say I was quite nervous, but I was able to get the main points across and answer the questions which were asked. I believe I was able to answer everything. When I told my parents about this they were amazed that in 1 week I was able to learn about Scitech and the pharmaceutical engineering industry, gain office experience and deliver a presentation in such a short time!

Highlights of the week

My three key highlights of the week were:

  • The research I did for the manufacture of monoclonal antibodies
  • Learning about process engineering
  • The overview sessions of architecture and building services

I would like to thank Scitech for giving me such a fascinating insight into their operations and culture. In particular Emma Dawas, Joanna Finch, Hazel Hatley and all members of staff who were extremely helpful and friendly, making the week such an unforgettable and incredible experience.

  • Read Adam’s work experience blog about how he gained an understanding of engineering and commercial management as he contemplates what career path to take.

Exploring career opportunities at Scitech

Sixth form student Adam joined us for two-days of work experience to gain an understanding of engineering and commercial management as he contemplates what career path to take. Here he shares his insights from his time with us.

My experience at Scitech was short but insightful. I experienced first-hand what it was like to contribute to a project as a member of the multiple teams at Scitech. I was constantly engaged with hands-on work by an amazing, warm, expert team of professionals in their fields. In an office in Godalming, the Scietch team is like a close-knit family.

I was placed with two teams during my two-day placement: the commercial team, and the engineering team. These teams are both groups of specialists working in their niches to provide the desired outcome for a client; whether it be a building to house a new chemical, or to create a new machine to handle a radioactive chemical. These teams offered me lots of activities so I could be engaged with current ongoing projects and see how their niches work together.

Day One: Commercial Team

Day one, I was with the commercial team. John introduced me to Scitech and gave me a rundown of some past, ongoing and future-planned projects. Then I moved to talk to the commercial team who showed me the budgeting and documenting of a project so it goes smoothly. I got the opportunity to construct a financial report to manage payments to the sub-contractors for a project with a pharmaceutical company with regards to lighting in one of their facilities. This tracked the costs of the tasks completed by their sub-contractors and therefore how much Scitech would need to pay them out for the task.

Following a financial report, I then filled out a payment certificate to confirm the payment that needed to be put through to the sub-contractor. As Scitech is also sometimes a contractor for other clients, if a project is finished late and misses a deadline, Scitech would be charged for the time they are late for project completion. To stop this from happening, if there was a delay in delivery of materials, so they could not finish constructing a certain building, a member of the commercial team would need to fill out a change order. I got some more hands-on experience doing this. In my situation I was given details about an extreme weather event that was going to affect the delivery of essential materials for the project; a change order was made to change the scheduled date of the construction of the building so that Scitech wouldn’t be charged extra money. 

Overall, with the commercial team I got a better understanding of the things they do to tie a project together and keep it running smoothly, while also getting the hang of new software including Microsoft Access and Excel.

Day two: Engineering Team

Day two, I was with the engineering team. I talked to electrical engineer Carlos Garcia who informed me of the essential role that he has in delivering the power to the buildings in a project; for any machine to work, there needs to be wiring put into place and placed carefully to ensure it does not interfere with other machinery. His niche is essential in a project, and he communicates with the other engineers with updated schematics in a 3D modelling software – BIM software

I also had the opportunity to talk to Lewis White. As a mechanical engineer, in his department he provides, or constructs, specialist equipment for clients looking for a machine that they can use to synthesize a new chemical compound. I was brought up to speed with a case study in St. Thomas’ hospital – radioactive isotopes are produced in a cyclotron, a particle accelerator that spins protons, which are attached to a pharmaceutical, which can be used in PET scans to pick up a potentially cancerous tumour. The molecule produced is fluorodeoxyglucose – cancer attaches to glucose, then the radioactive part can be picked up on a PET scan as a bright dot.

It was super interesting to have some insight on a real project that I can see for myself in action and the procedures they must go through and work together on.  It’s fascinating the specialised machines that the mechanical engineers need to deliver / produce themselves for one specific job to fit all criteria given by the client; the extent to which they’re specialised is frankly insane.

Overall, I was super happy with my time at Scitech, it completely exceeded my expectations! I’ve absolutely loved having the opportunity to come to Scitech and have a taster of what it’s like as one of the big team. Thank you!

Scitech launches new graduate and trainee programme – Xcellerate

As part of our commitment to nurture and support new talent across Scitech, we are proud to announce the launch of our new graduate and trainee programme – Xcellerate. Aimed at recent graduates and trainees from all areas of the company, this comprehensive programme aims to equip participants with the necessary personal, technical, and behavioural skills to tackle the industry’s biggest challenges.

The first cohort on the Xcellerate programme

Xcellerate is split into three pathways: Foundation, Academic, and Professional. The Foundation pathway spans two years and comprises eight personal skills development modules (PSD). These modules cover a wide range of areas including business fundamentals, enhanced communication and team skills, and problem-solving. The programme’s first module includes a Miro behaviours assessment, allowing participants to gain valuable insights into their personal areas for growth and their own personal brand and to create strategies for their career. We are partnering with Bespoke Training Services on the delivery of these modules providing participants with the highest level of professional and expert guidance.

The programme is divided into eight quarters, with each quarter consisting of a PSD module, as well as other relevant training and learning opportunities tailored to the participant’s development path. These additional activities include webinars, back-to-basics sessions, lunch and learns, conferences, and technical training. Moreover, participants will have the chance to embark on rotations every quarter, providing them with a deeper understanding of various business areas within Scitech. These rotations can last from a one-day appreciation to a month-long engagement, during which participants may contribute to small tasks or support ongoing projects.

Furthermore, participants in the Xcellerate program will have the opportunity to enrol in academic courses and/or pursue professional accreditation. These educational endeavours may extend beyond the two-year Foundation pathway, allowing participants to expand their knowledge and expertise in specialised areas and to become chartered or accredited with a professional body.

Monica Williams, Xcellerate Programme Manager, expressed her enthusiasm about the launch: “We are thrilled to enrol our first cohort of graduates and trainees onto our Xcellerate development programme. This programme emphasises Scitech’s commitment to investing in people – our greatest asset – by providing them with structured opportunities for growing their professional skills while contributing to the company’s ongoing success. I am really excited about what’s to come for our first cohort. We wish all who are involved in Xcellerate every success.”

● Find out more about career opportunities at Scitech.

Spotlight on Gareth Brown, Architect

Gareth Brown reveals why designing facilities for the pharmaceutical and high value manufacturing sector is so interesting. With a career as an architect spanning several decades, he still thrives on the challenges it produces.

Holding a lifelong passion to learn, Gareth found that after 25 years working for a range of different architectural practices, he was suddenly left feeling rather flat and deflated about his career. He had previously enjoyed working for many different size firms from small consultancies up to leading national practices. This saw him operating across the Civic, Commercial, Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure and Residential sectors.

During this time, he designed and delivered a range of buildings including healthcare, nursing homes, schools, university buildings, offices, and residential properties. He progressed to become Associate Architect for a top-ranking architectural firm, but despite taking on the responsibility of leading large-scale, multi-million-pound projects, he felt something was missing.

“The designs may look different, but technically they are similar and generate the same types of issues,” he explains. “After a while, you stop being stretched. I’ve always been a geek and loved science; I need to learn, otherwise I get bored. A few years ago, I ended up studying for an Open University degree in Earth and Planetary Science as I felt I was lacking the intellectual stimulation at work.”

Complex design

With his love for science, Gareth’s interest was immediately piqued when he was approached by a head hunter about a role at Scitech. The levels of regulation within the industry and complexity behind the manufacturing facilities, cleanrooms, and laboratories that Scitech designed and built meant that Gareth would once again find himself challenged.

“Scitech appealed to me for several reasons. The projects are interesting with truly complex challenges that really stretched my thinking. The approach to design was different; process led, and inside out.

“At Scitech, you work side-by-side with a full range of multidisciplinary teams and have access to subject matter experts with extensive experience in some fascinating fields.

“The beauty of working together as part of this multidisciplinary team, sitting together in the same room, is that you are more likely to pick up errors before they can escalate. You have the expertise on hand to identify any potential issues at a very early stage and head them off. I’ve also found that, at Scitech, there’s a genuine desire for everybody to get it right.”

Breadth of projects

Since working at Scitech, Gareth has been involved in a range of projects from the development of a hot cell suite for a radiopharmaceutical company based in the US to the development of a high-end manufacturing plant in Scotland, all of which have satisfied his need for learning something new.

“I found it incredibly interesting learning about radioactive isotopes and how they are produced and packaged,” he explains. “It is fascinating from a design perspective as you have to factor in radiation control and monitoring and consider pollution.”

Mentoring a new generation of architects

It is not just his own learning that Gareth is invested in. He has also provided mentorship to architecture students at Cardiff University and The University of Wales Trinity Saint David for several years and was keen to continue when joining Scitech.

“There is a big leap between what you learn at university and what working life is like as an architect. The mentor scheme helps to bridge that gap. Basically, we frighten the students with the reality of the responsibilities they will hold when working as an architect.”

He adds: “I was fortunate that I’ve had several mentors early throughout my career who have been extremely supportive and given me a lot of help. I promised myself that when I was able to do the same for others, I would. I’m grateful that I can do so. Hopefully I can help to inspire them, and I may well find myself working alongside them professionally in the future.”

  • For more information about careers at Scitech, visit our careers section.

Scitech awarded to design and build University of Oxford Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility

We are delighted to announce we have been awarded the pre-construction services agreement (PCSA) to design and build an extension to the University of Oxford’s Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility(CBF). This new building will be sited adjacent to the existing CBF and includes two EU GMP grade C cleanrooms, materials warehousing and offices.

The CBF is the University of Oxford’s GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) manufacturing facility, which has been producing biological Investigational Medicinal Products (IMPs) according to the principles of GMP for early phase clinical trials for more than 20 years.

Located on the Churchill Hospital site in Oxford, the CBF, in partnership with the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccines Group, developed the ‘Oxford vaccine’ in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CBF holds a Manufacturer’s Authorisation for Investigational Medicinal Products (MIA (IMPs)) from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This allows it to manufacture viral vector vaccines and advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs), including gene and cell therapy products.

The expansion project will ensure that the CBF, Oxford and the wider UK life sciences sector remains at the forefront of innovative medicinal products.

We will be using an offsite construction modular solution to deliver the extension to minimise any disruption to existing business operations at the CBF.

Dave Grant, Managing Director at Scitech, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to deliver this expansion project for the University of Oxford. The CBF is a valuable resource for academic research and clinical drug development and this investment will ensure that it has the facilities required to also increase vaccine and biologics manufacturing significantly here in the UK.”

Celebrating Scitech’s employee ownership and the spirit of #TheEOeffect

Last week, we joined EO businesses across the UK in celebrating the annual Employee Ownership (EO) Day on 23 June. As a 100% employee-owned company, this day holds significant meaning for us, highlighting the benefits and impact of employee ownership. In this blog, we share how we have been marking Employee Ownership and delve into the significance of #TheEOeffect.

Employee Ownership in a word

To kick start the celebrations, we invited our colleagues to contribute to the Scitech Word Cloud. Employees were encouraged to share a single word that encapsulates their feelings about being an employee owner at Scitech. This collaborative activity allowed us to unite and acknowledge the diverse range of perspectives within our organisation.

Word cloud generated by Scitech staff to mark EO Day

Sharing and inspiring

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new quarterly Scitech Newsletter. This informative publication aims to keep our employee-owners informed about the latest developments within our company. By sharing stories, updates, and achievements, the newsletter fosters a sense of community and ensures that each employee is aware of the significant contributions they make towards our shared success. Our first edition is set to be a must-read, packed with exciting news and inspiring stories from across our organisation.

Celebrating together

Last week, whether at Scitech House, Cardiff, Antwerp, or Manchester, our employee owners gathered to celebrate. At Scitech House, we enjoyed a delightful lunch and cake on our decking. In Cardiff, our team savoured homemade food and enjoyed a trip to a local carvery. Meanwhile, our Antwerp colleagues indulged in a delectable selection of homemade cakes, and in Manchester, the team came together for food and drinks after work. These celebrations strengthen the bonds between us as employee owners, reinforcing our collective achievements and unwavering dedication.

The EO Effect

Being a 100% employee-owned company, we understand the immense value each employee owner brings to our success. Through the EO activities highlighted, we reinforce our sense of unity, motivation, and shared purpose. As we spread the EO spirit, we hope to inspire others to embrace employee ownership and experience the transformative #EOEffect. Together, we continue to thrive and deliver excellence at Scitech.

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day: Empowering the Next Generation

Today marks the 10th year of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) – a day in which we are asked to reflect on the persistent underrepresentation of women in engineering professions and the need for collective efforts to bridge the gender gap.

At Scitech, we are committed to making a tangible impact by increasing the presence of women in our engineering workforce and fostering an environment of empowerment and inclusivity.

Addressing the Gender Imbalance

Current statistics reveal that globally, only 16.5% of engineers are women. This is a stark reminder of the work that lies ahead. INWED provides a vital platform for women engineers to gain visibility and recognition in their fields. At Scitech, we recognise this disparity and actively work to address it within our organisation and beyond.

Notably, Just five years ago women made up only 10% of our engineering colleagues. Today, we are proud to report that we have increased the representation of women in our engineering workforce to an impressive 22%. This substantial growth is a testament to our unwavering commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace that fosters innovation and empowers all employees to thrive.

Within our organisation, women have risen to prominent positions and become role models for aspiring female engineers. Nicola Hale, our Design and Engineering Director, brings a wealth of expertise and experience to her role. Her leadership inspires and paves the way for other women to reach senior positions within the engineering industry.

Furthermore, we are proud to have two engineering teams led by female managers who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills. Their accomplishments reflect our commitment to empowering women and fostering an environment where everyone’s unique perspectives and contributions are valued and embraced.

Inspiring the Next Generation

At Scitech, we firmly believe that inspiring and empowering the next generation of women in engineering is paramount. Our female engineers are passionate advocates for STEM careers, and they actively engage with young girls through career days at schools, colleges, and universities. By sharing their own experiences and showcasing the wide range of opportunities available in the STEM field, they encourage young women to pursue their passions fearlessly and pursue rewarding engineering careers.

Hazel Hatley, Process Engineer, is a passionate advocate for encouraging more girls into engineering and a regular participant in our outreach events. She said: “Empowering girls to pursue engineering is about unlocking their potential and creating a world where their innovative ideas and contributions can shape our future. By breaking down barriers and providing opportunities, we can create a diverse and inclusive engineering industry that thrives on the unique perspectives and talents of all. With so many challenges facing us over the next 50 years, every thought and idea is vitally important – and women will be a critical part of the solutions created. We need to inspire the next generation of girls to be a part of engineering a world where anything is possible.”

Emma Dawas, our HR Manager, added: “As a business we are constantly working to improve the gender balance in engineering. It’s not just about attracting women to apply for our engineering roles through our enhanced family friendly policies. Or enabling colleagues to work flexibly or buy additional holidays to cover school holidays or even supporting those returning from a career break. It’s also about attracting the next generation into engineering to bring fresh perspectives and unique problem-solving approaches that will result in innovative solutions and a better world for us all.”

Diversity fuels innovation

As we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, Scitech stands at the forefront of driving positive change within the engineering industry. We continue to celebrate the achievements of women in engineering, fostering a workplace that values diversity, empowers all employees, and encourages collaboration to drive innovation. Let us continue to celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and work towards creating a brighter and more equitable future for all.

#INWED23 #EmpoweringWomeninEngineering

Scitech empowers Employee Ownership: Highlights from the South East Network Meeting

We were delighted to be invited to attend the Employee Ownership Association’s South East Network Meeting on 7 June, where we hosted a roundtable discussion about being an employee trustee for an employee owned company.

Lewis White, our Mechanical Engineering Team Leader and Trustee of Scitech Trust Limited, and HR Manager Emma Dawas hosted the table of 10 representatives from a range of EO companies. It was particularly interesting hearing others’ views on the role of the trustee, and discussing some of the challenges trustees face at the various stages in the EO journey.

The event brought together representatives from various employee-owned businesses to discuss strategies, share experiences, and explore the benefits of this unique business model.

One of the highlights was the keynote talk delivered by Dame Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership (JLP). The founding principles of JLP remain as relevant today as they were when established a century ago.

According to the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), the number of employee-owned businesses in the UK has reached an impressive milestone of 1,300. This significant growth demonstrates the increasing recognition of employee ownership as a sustainable and successful business model.

Employee-owned firm Arup hosted the event. David Whittleton talked of the “high level” of engagement at Arup. Malcolm Clarke, Managing Director of Baxall Construction Ltd, shared his company’s recent journey of becoming an employee-owned organisation. We also heard from RM2, training company People Untapped and Shaw Healthcare. All very different employee-owned businesses debating incentivisation and share schemes.

Scitech is 100% employee-owned which the EOA reported is still the most common model of ownership of those businesses transitioning to EO.

Reflecting on the experience, Lewis said: “We know we are not alone in this journey but it’s not often that you get to hear others’ experiences. Hearing how other companies have had similar journeys to employee ownership and have similar experiences was extremely interesting. There were some fascinating contributions to our table’s discussions affirming the strength and resonance of the employee ownership model. Thank you to everyone for making the event such a worthwhile experience.”