Expand your knowledge and grow your network at Drug Discovery 2022

Expand your knowledge and grow your network at Drug Discovery 2022

Get practical tips about how to make the most of your attendance at Drug Discovery 2022

The countdown for Drug Discovery 2022, Europe’s largest meeting for life sciences industry professionals, is finally on. As we find our momentum in this post-pandemic era, we present 8 different research tracks dedicated to ‘driving the next life sciences revolution’.

Attending a conference of this scale and calibre – with thousands of attendees, hundreds of posters, and dozens of scientific talks – provides numerous choices for learning and growing. It’s our hope that you feel energised and inspired by your experience.

To help you plan your schedule and bookmark interesting talks, we’ve reached out to four scientists who are most familiar with year’s agenda – our conference directors. Taking us behind the scenes, they share what they’re each looking forward to and also spill insider secrets about how to make the most of Drug Discovery 2022.

“I have been very lucky to be involved with the planning for this meeting,” says Katie Chapman, Discovery Biology Director at a VC-funded biotech company. “ELRIG Drug Discovery is always such a fantastic event with innovative speakers, and this year I am most excited about the breadth and diversity of the sessions, which hopefully will strengthen and expand the ELRIG family.”

Ready to get out and finally meet people in-person? Us too!

At last year’s event in Liverpool, the most common icebreaker on the conference floor was, ‘Doesn’t it feel great to finally meet everyone in-person?’  And it sure did! Our conference directors plan to keep it that way this year. “It’s super exciting to build on the enthusiasm of meeting face-to-face in Liverpool last autumn and be able to re-engage with colleagues new and old this year,” says Simon Ward, Director of the Medicines Institute, Cardiff University.

When talks are presented live and ideas are exchanged around the lunch table, the excitement in the room is on another level. Virtual meetings certainly have their place and offer convenience, but in-person events tap into our innate need for human connection. “It really feels like there is an energy for people to reconnect face-to-face around science – that is something I’ve certainly missed over the last couple of years,” notes Simon Chell, Executive Director, Discovery Biology, AstraZeneca. For decades, our face-to-face ELRIG events have played a role in sparking new ideas or striking up new connections. In our 16th year hosting Drug Discovery, we know for sure that bringing scientists together in-person presents opportunities for spontaneous discussions that can kick off collaborations. It also increases the chances of serendipitous networking to propel careers.

Jon Hutchinson, Scientific Leader at GlaxoSmithKline adds:I’m super excited that we can host Drug Discovery as an even bigger and better in-person event in London.” This year, Drug Discovery 2022 will take place at the bustling ExCel centre in London, a venue that is well-connected and readily accessible, making it possible for scientists from all around Europe to attend and participate.

Walk around and browse through the latest technologies

At Drug Discovery 2022, there are 120 exhibition booths where vendors will be proudly showcasing their latest technologies. This means, you can “see” the most recent versions of microscopes, imagers, liquid handlers, and other systems on display, get immediate answers to your questions and even schedule demo requests.

Take a walk along the Innovation AveNEWo see what research ideas went on to become biotech start-ups. Watch demos and live displays, and discover what’s next for these budding scientist-entrepreneurs. Pro tip: Many start-ups look for collaborations at this stage. Don’t hesitate to ask!

Expand your knowledge – and challenge current assumptions – by exploring new topics

With a packed programme of technical talks, workshops and training sessions, there are plenty of options for attendees to enjoy over the two days at Drug Discovery 2022. There are two possible scenarios:

You may choose to sit around familiar faces and listen to experts discuss your preferred topics. Or… this time around, you can venture outside your comfort zone and explore a parallel topic that fascinates you.

Whether it’s a subject you’re currently studying, a technical challenge you’d like to tackle, or a future interest you’re looking to explore, our eight tracks cover a wide variety of topics. Over 50 speakers from different institutes will present the latest advancements in screening, automation, high content imaging, disease models, and cell and gene therapies. Pro tip: Download the ELRIG mobile app to view the programme and shortlist talks you’d like to attend. Planning your schedule in advance makes for a much more productive experience. Plus, you can also connect with other attendees directly through the app.

Here are the science tracks your will find at Drug Discovery 2022:

  1. Overcoming Challenges and New Directions in Medicinal Chemistry
  2. High Content Imaging in Drug Discovery
  3. Cell & Gene Therapy
  4. Drug Discovery and Development in COPD (partnership with British Pharmacological Society)
  5. Innovation through Partnership
  6. Frontiers of Chemistry applied to Drug Discovery (Partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry)
  7. Developments in Preclinical Models
  8. Advancements in Screening and Automation (partnership with Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

Our conference directors share what session they’re most looking forward to:

“I think it’s particularly exciting that we’re bringing elements of cell and gene therapy into ELRIG’s mainstream drug discovery schedule. These modalities have the potential to be transformative, so it’s great to see them sitting alongside the more established small molecule and antibody-based medicines. There will be great talks covering a variety of cell and gene therapy approaches from across the discovery phases.” Simon Chell

“I am really looking forward to the ‘Innovation through Partnership’ session, highlighting some of the UK’s most exciting collaborations and advancements that have resulted from strong alliances.” Katie Chapman

“I’m looking forward to dipping into all the sessions, but the two which resonate most with me are ‘High Content Imaging in Drug Discovery’ and ‘Advancements in Screening and Automation’. These two tracks are closest to my ‘day job’ and I look forward to learning more about the cutting-edge developments in these fields.” Jon Hutchinson

“I’m really pleased that we have 2 chemistry sessions for the first time ever – one of which is a partner session with the Royal Society of Chemistry.” Simon Ward

What session are you looking forward to attending this year? Tag us on LinkedIn or Twitter and let us know.

Grow your network: A safe space to step outside your comfort zone

How would one new connection help your career? Perhaps it brings clarity to a job profile you’ve been eyeing. It could be the start of a brand-new career direction. Maybe it eases the overwhelm around a career pivot you’ve been too afraid to make. Or it connects you with someone who is like-minded and relates to your journey.

No matter the outcome, the ability to network and build connections is a necessary skill to move forward and get ahead. Our conference directors believe that professional growth happens when we step outside our comfort zone to meet new people and stay open-minded about recognising opportunities. To drive the next revolution in life sciences, we need diversity in experience and thinking, and also a safe, welcoming space to network.


Here’s a bit of practical advice from our conference directors to expand your network at Drug Discovery 2022:

“Speak to as many people in the field as you can, be curious, ask questions, and stay focused on why you chose drug discovery as a vocation.” Simon Chell

“The best science comes from being collaborative and diverse in thinking, therefore you need to be too. Make sure you talk to as many people as possible and listen to their experiences and ideas. This can often make the difference between a good idea and a brilliant idea.” Katie Chapman

“Take every opportunity to engage with peers and more established scientists across all sectors of the life sciences community, as there are so many opportunities for career growth.” Jon Hutchinson

“Talk to as many new people as you can – ask them why they do what they do, how they made their choices, and build a network to open new opportunities for the future.” Simon Ward

ELRIG makes it easier – and structured – for you to meet new people in our ‘Network like a boss’ session designed for early career professionals. All it takes is showing up at the session to experience top-quality networking with mentor-minded industry professionals who truly want to offer support (so you can finally bid goodbye to the awkward small talk and have a real conversation). Pro tip: After you’ve wrapped up a conversation, if it feels like a good fit, connect with them on LinkedIn or via email by the end of the day while the interaction is still fresh. Leave a personal note thanking them for their time.

Register for Drug Discovery 2022: Thought-provoking talks and career-boosting connections await

No matter where you are in your career – an established professional, a post-doc, or an early career researcher – and where you intend to go next, Drug Discovery 2022 brings you the opportunity to get in-depth insights into niche topics and meet peers and mentors in a friendly, welcoming environment.


Join us and 2,000 other industry professionals at Drug Discovery 2022 on Oct 4th and 5th at ExCel London. Sign up today for free.