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My MBA Career: Managing a Donor-Funded Research Centre Successfully



Last Updated on November 21, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: Susan Winks Leads Drug Discovery Research Operations at H3D, Bridging Science and Business

Susan Winks, who joined H3D in 2013 as a research scientist, now heads the research operations and business development department at the prominent drug discovery centre. H3D focuses on developing new drugs to combat infectious diseases while simultaneously creating Africa-specific treatment models.

H3D, known for its cutting-edge research, receives funding from various sources including government agencies, philanthropic organizations, and private companies. With her vast experience, Winks is responsible for writing funding proposals and negotiating intellectual-property rights agreements. Her role requires extensive knowledge of both scientific research and business management.

Enrolled in an MBA program, Winks aims to merge her scientific background with business acumen to bring significant improvements to iThemba Pharmaceuticals. Her deep understanding of laboratory processes and key metrics gives her an advantage in convincing investors to fund socially important research projects, while remaining open to emerging opportunities.

Winks credits her success to skills that seamlessly transitioned from the laboratory to the boardroom, including analytical thinking, information synthesis, and patience. Through mentorship and a flexible approach, she continuously adapts methodologies to H3D’s academic environment and budget constraints.

To ensure sustainability, H3D leverages government funding to attract additional investments. The centre aims to raise approximately 70-80 million rand per year to maintain its operations. Winks’ impressive leadership has already resulted in several notable achievements, such as overseeing the creation of a standard service agreement that brought drug discovery services to universities across Africa. The project led to the signing of 60 contracts and attracted additional funding.

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Although Winks no longer actively conducts benchwork, she finds her current role more fulfilling as it allows her to have a greater impact on the scientific community. With her extensive knowledge and expertise, she continues to drive H3D’s mission forward.

In conclusion, Susan Winks’ journey from research scientist to heading research operations and business development at H3D showcases her commitment to bridging the gap between science and business. Her unwavering dedication and influence have played a significant role in advancing drug discovery in Africa and sustaining H3D’s groundbreaking initiatives.

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Robert is a talented writer and educator with a focus on MBA courses. He has years of experience teaching and writing about the intricacies of business education, and his work is highly regarded for its depth of insight and practical application. Robert holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from a reputable institution, and his academic background gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing MBA students. He has a talent for breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand language, making his writing accessible to a wide range of readers.

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