Researchers Guest Feature: Taking a Closer Look at Clinical Trials
By uczjipo, on 6 November 2020
Throughout the year we will be taking a deep dive into some key topics and career paths discussed in our events programme.
In these posts, we will be exploring what careers in a variety of different industries look like for a researcher. Each contributor will give us their key tips for following a non-academic career path whilst letting us in on the things they wished they’d known before taking the leap. Find out about the roles their organisation has to offer and get some key tips on applying.
This month it’s all about clinical trials…
Taking a deeper dive into the world of a full-service clinical contract research organisation, we have our contributor:
Andrea is a Clinical Trial Manager at Medpace
Andrea studied at the National University of Ireland and has a PhD in Microbiology
Tell us about being a Clinical Trial Manager…
A Clinical Trial Manager oversees the day-to-day clinical operations of a trial. This involves acting as the project lead for multi-full service global clinical trials. The position interacts with sponsors and manages the timeline and all project deliverables.
So, who are Medpace and what do you do?
Medpace is a full-service clinical contract research organization (CRO). We provide Phase I-IV clinical development services to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Our mission is to accelerate the global development of safe and effective medical therapeutics through its scientific and disciplined approach. We leverage local regulatory and therapeutic expertise across all major areas including oncology, cardiology, metabolic disease, endocrinology, central nervous system, anti-viral and anti-infective. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, employing approximately 3,500 people across almost 40 countries. We have two offices in the United Kingdom, Central London and Stirling, Scotland.
Did you find any transferable skills from your PhD to your role now?
My PhD was in infectious disease microbiology and it investigated interactions associated with antibiotic resistant bacteria and the innate immune system.
There are lots of transferrable skills that can be applied to my job now. For example,
- Collaboration/team work – working with other labs and co-authors to complete lab work, draft and publish papers
- Project planning/organisational skills – you manage your own project. What needs to be done and when.
- Time management – you manage your own time to get your research completed for key milestones and deadlines.
- Coordinating Laboratory logistics – being responsible for certain tasks within the lab (product ordering, liaising with vendors to get equipment calibrated or ordered.
- Problem solving – this what a PhD is all about!
- Presentation skills – internal and conference presentations.
- Adaptability – Often a result changes how you plan to proceed with your research, and you must adapt. Also learning new techniques, training on new equipment, learning new areas of science for PhD etc.
- Computer skills – word, PowerPoint, excel etc.
What were the challenges transitioning from academia to industry?
It was challenging to multitask learning a completely new industry and taking on a role outside of the lab. There was good training and on the job experience provided at Medpace which meant this challenge did not last very long.
Is there anything you hoped someone had told you before leaving academia?
Network as much as possible! Reach out to alumni of your university or people on LinkedIn to have a quick chat about their day-to-day jobs and find out if that interests you. Once you decide on the industry you want to work in, you can start to reach out to more people in that area to ask for tips and advice for your CV and/or interview.
And any tips specifically for Postdocs…
Medpace hires people with postdoc experience and a few of my colleagues worked as postdocs. Use your years of experience and skills gained throughout the years and apply them to the industry you are applying to. I think it’s important to show that you are willing to learn and adapt to a new industry.
If someones interested in your organisation, are there any minimum requirements to roles?
At minimum, a bachelor’s degree in science is required. We welcome people with a PhD in life sciences, especially for one of the training programmes available where PhD graduates are employed and on an accelerated training pathway.
And finally, what kind of job titles should people be looking for if they’re interested in clinical trials?
Project coordinator (PC), clinical research associate (CRA), regulatory submissions coordinator (RSC) and data coordinator (DC) have entry level positions available at Medpace.
Thanks to Andrea for sharing your experiences! We hope you found this useful and keep an eye out for more of our guest blogs… If this has inspired you to explore a career outside of academia, come along to one of our events in this years programme – click here for more information