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Cliff Preston

Cliff studied Physiology & Psychology at Oxford University, where he received a BA in 1978 and DPhil in 1982. He then worked as a postdoctoral research assistant in the Universities of Cambridge and London prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry.

From 1985 to 1989 Cliff worked in the Clinical Neuroscience group at Merck, Sharp & s Neuroscience Research Centre, where he developed and programmed tests of cognitive function for healthy volunteers and patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, and conducted and published psychopharmacology studies. He then joined Glaxo s Clinical Pharmacology Division, where he was Central Nervous System therapeutic area leader, heading international medical teams developing drugs for the treatment of pain and acute stroke.

In 1999 Cliff joined the Decision Sciences group at Glaxo Wellcome, providing decision support for R&D investment decisions, and developing tools for the manufacturing division to evaluate trade-offs between timing and cost in determining product value.

From 2000 to 2011 Cliff was a member of Pfizer’s Portfolio & Decision Analysis (PDA) group, finishing as a Director/Team Leader. During this time he was a member of the PDA leadership team, and managed a small team of analysts based in Sandwich and New York. His responsibilities included providing decision analysis to individual project teams, designing and conducting the twice-yearly portfolio evaluation for early (pre-Proof of Concept) development projects, and analysing the economics of atypical approaches to drug development. He also co-designed and delivered teaching courses on good decision-making practices, primarily intended for project managers but open to anyone in the R&D organisation.

Since leaving Pfizer in 2011, Cliff has completed an MSc in Management Science (operations research) at the University of Kent, including studying heuristics, mathematical optimization, performance management, simulation and quantitative methods. Cliff has over ten years’ experience in modelling decision problems with Microsoft Excel and VBA, and has practical experience of other analytical tools such as CPLEX, Simul8 and SPSS, as well as facilitation, problem structuring and generation of alternative strategies.