Academic Practice Unit (APU)

The Academic Practice Unit (APU) is a novel collaboration between Aston University and the NHS, specialising in advanced practice of healthcare professionals, and service development and paediatric medicines research.


We are a conduit to pharmacy practice in all sectors and specialties and provide a focus for teaching, training and research in three main areas.  

  • Near-patient pharmacy    
  • Pharmacy education    
  • Development of novel drug formulations  

As part of these programmes the APU provides a leading role in the development and delivery of practice-related postgraduate courses and in particular: the professional doctorate in pharmacy (PharmD), clinically enhance pharmacist independent prescribing (CEPIP), advanced health assessment (AHA) and Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) training.

About us

About us

The APU was opened in 2013 and is a collaboration between Aston University and the wider NHS. We were awarded the Health Education England (HEE) Chairs’ Award for Research in 2016. 

The Steering Committee of the APU includes: 

  • Consultant medical staff (practicing leading clinicians and active researchers and educators) 
  • Pharmacists (backgrounds in academia, hospital, primary-care and community) 
  • Nurses (senior hospital nurses, with medicines management responsibilities) 
  • Public and patient involvement member (charities background) 
  • Clinical and academic collaborators with the APU come from across the globe, including Australia, Denmark, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the USA. 

We provide oversight of a number of undergraduate and postgraduate students and their research projects, from the UK and abroad. Our current number of doctoral students is six (UK: two, and Malta: one).  

Research and teaching areas

Near patient pharmacy research includes doctoral and other projects/commissions in the following areas: 

  • Pharmacists in advanced clinical roles 
  • Advanced roles of pharmacy technicians 
  • Paediatric hospital clinical pharmacy 
  • Pharmacists and adolescents 
  • Pharmacist as prescribers - benefits 
  • Clinical pharmacy in Hong Kong 
  • Treatment of elderly patients with heart failure.  

Healthcare education and research: 

  • Development of pharmacy postgraduate clinical education and practice 
  • Distance learning packages for clinicians 
  • Teaching children how to swallow tablets – Pill School 
  • Evaluation of healthcare professionals development programmes 
  • Evaluation of Clinical Educators 
  • Identification of training needs during Covid-19. 

Development of novel drug formulations: 

  • Development of oral-dispersible (fast-melt) tablets  
  • Development of fast-dissolving films as a carrier for medication  
  • Palatability and acceptability studies of medicines for children. 

Current funded projects: PARED, CEED, EnED, and Pill School.

Members and contacts

Director: Dr David Terry 

  • Professor Afzal Mohammed
  • Professor Prasanta Dey
  • Dr Jeff Aston, Associate Chief Pharmacist, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Jo Correa-West, Leadership Facilitator and Medicines Management Nurse, Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Professor Mark DasGupta, Clinical Director of Medicines Management and Optimisation, NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG
  • Professor Rajat Gupta, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist, Birmingham Children's Hospital 
  • Dr Anthony Sinclair, Deputy Chief Pharmacist, University Hospitals Plymouth 


Dr David Terry:  
Dr Chi Huynh: