The CAMS-UK (Community for Analytical Measurement Science – UK) project  is due to  launch in March 2018.  CAMS-UK is being designed with the intention of bringing some cohesiveness to the Analytical Measurement Science UK Community. The project has been gaining momentum in the last 18 months after the concept was kick-started in response to the Royal Society of Chemistry Analytical Division analytical landscaping exercise in 2015 and the subsequent 2016 EPSRC review of analytical science.  More recently it has seen significant industrial input, UKRI and government organisation interest.  

CAMS-UK has two key focus areas i) our pipeline of key Analytical Measurement Science (AMS) talent and ii) our innovative core for UK Analytical Measurement Science (initially with a strong focus on point of use measurement technologies).  An important and unique feature of this project for our community is that it is an industrially-led membership network which is intended to connect our AMS national community (i.e. it is not something new but rather a vehicle, or the glue for our community to facilitate growth of our collective identity (and future success)). 

The initiative has initially focused on the UK chemical and bio-analytical measurement science communities and aims to co-ordinate its work across a distributed network of nodes of analytical measurement excellence. To do this we are proposing a new distributed UK AMS Research and Innovation Institute and a Skills institute catering for the AMS career lifecycle (e.g. undergrad / industrial placements, apprenticeships, flexible modular practical/e-/distance and classroom based learning for industry and university students alike). The two institutes will be industry led with governance through an Executive supported by a Secretariat. Membership of the community network will be split across three levels (tier 1, 2 and 3) with direct and indirect fees required from academic and industrial members in exchange for access to a variety of member benefits according to membership tier level. Importantly, membership access will be open to all UK academic organisations and industrial organisations.

In summary CAMS-UK aims to:

  • Raise the profile of UK Analytical Measurement Science training and research
  • Facilitate industrially-led innovation in novel point-of-use measurement technologies
  • Provide a focal point for UK Chem/Bio analytical measurement science
  • Provide a talent pool with industry-ready transferable skills for the future
  • Facilitate access across the UK community of analytical measurement facilities, training organisations, research and commercial innovation organisations.

The project journey to date has included the following notable activities:

  1. May 2016: Initial Meeting with UK skills, research councils and professional bodies to discuss potential for a community project – successfully endorsed. Mandate to gather industry buy-in;
  2. June - Dec 2016: Industry Surveyed for CAMS-UK need across (110 organisations of varying size and industrial sector) and MMIP (medicines and manufacturing industry partnership) sponsorship gained. Point of use technology network focus endorsed;
  3. April 2017: Industrial Workshop at Burlington House, London – bringing together some 25 representatives across different industrial sectors to discuss the project and their potential engagement in the future;
  4. June 2017: Registration  of the community network name – now known as Community for Analytical Measurement Science- UK (CAMS-UK);
  5. Aug – Nov 2017: Development of a structure for the network and a membership agreement draft  (including three tier levels with associated details on costs (££ and indirect) and benefits);
  6. June - Oct 2017: Commitment from three initial founding academic organisations to fund and appoint Analytical Chairs (including Separation Science) as part of CAMS-UK Tier 1 commitment;
  7. June - Sept 2017: Evaluation of various commercially available e-learning platforms for CAMS-UK training material provision;
  8. June - Sept 2017: Construction of a CAMS-UK website (about to be launched);
  9. Sept 2017: Discussions with EPSRC/BBSRC/MRC to identify funding routes for programmes within CAMS-UK;
  10. Oct 2017: Support for development of the early stages of a multi-institutional CDT Analytical bid by Tier 1 CAMS-UK academic members;
  11. Nov 2017: Continued endorsement confirmed for the project by the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership – within the Technology & Innovation and Skills Streams;
  12. Nov 2017: Discussions with the Office of Life Sciences to request this project be considered for incorporation within the government support of the life science sector deal and future wave funding;
  13. Nov 2017: UK Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund in principle Endorsement of £4M to support the initiative including supporting set-up costs for 2018 and hosting an open meeting for the UK Analytical Academic Community to hear about the project (19th Feb, London);
  14. Dec 2018: BEIS Funding Request for CAMS UK BEAM co-ordination role;
  15. Jan 2018: Current Tier 1 academic  institutions meet to agree principles for a joint CDT submission in 2018 call;
  16. Jan 2018: Membership draft agreement finalised;
  17. 8 Feb 2018 Current Tier 1 academic institutions meet to co-ordinate a CDT bid as part of Martin Synge Institute offerings;
  18. 19 Feb 2018: Meeting scheduled by Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund in Burlington House, Piccadilly, London for Academic Institutions to hear more about the project and indicate interest in engagement. 

In the current climate of research and innovation landscape flux in the UK, there is a tangible opportunity for our community to coalesce and ensure the identity of AMS which cuts across every scientific discipline and touches the lives of every UK citizen, is not lost (or diluted). The UK AMS sector is already a significant contributor to UK turnover (estimated at ~£7 billion) and UK employment and so the potential impact of a healthy AMS community with strong identity is similarly significant on future UK productivity.

Finally, I hope this article has given you some food for thought and serves to inspire you about what we might be able to achieve together. Constructive comment and suggestions for important points we should consider as we move towards securing membership in 2018 and building the governance structure of CAMS-UK are most welcome.

For general and membership enquiries please contact:

Yours sincerely

Melissa Hanna-Brown

On behalf of CAMS-UK (an ACTF and MMIP supported initiative).