SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Dr Philippa Wilton

Post:Research Fellow in Medical Innovation (SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit)
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From 2005-2009 I undertook the 4-year Human Sciences undergraduate degree programme at the University of Sussex which allowed me to develop broad interests across many disciplines spanning Biology, Linguistics, Anthropology, Development Studies, Psychology and Philosphy. Following my BSc I worked as a research assistant in SPRU (2009-2010) where I was involved in a EPSRC funded project with Michael Hopkins and Paul Nightingale, investigating the evolution of the therapeutics sector in the UK since 1980. I then went on to study the MSc in Public Policies for Science, Technology and Innovation (Distinction) in SPRU (2010-2011) where my dissertation was entitled: Product Development Partnerships: What is their role in combating a lack of drug innovation for diseases of low income countries? A network-based approach. 


I am an ESRC funded PhD student looking into the dynamics of drug innovation. My research project is entitled: Why do some drug projects succeed in development and others fail? An exploration into the conditions influencing the success and failure of UK drug projects aimed at rare cancers. 

Research Questions: 

  • Why do some drug projects succeed in development and others fail?
  • What conditions of rare disease drug innovation determine the success in progressing therapeutics, from discovery to advanced clinical development?
  • Assuming a complx web of interactions exists, what combinations of these causal conditions determine successful drug innovation in rare diseases?
  • How do these combinations of causal conditions interact to determine success?

In answering these questions this research with implement a Qualitative Comparative Analysis to assess the conditions contributing towards success. The main contribution of this research is in providing policy recommendations to encourage innovation in the area of rare cancers and more broadly. 

Twitter: @CranePhilippa