Clinical research associates, study nurses, trial managers and clinical research teams have a chance to win $1,000 prizes in a competition designed to measure their technical and interpersonal skills in a changing global industry and raise the profile of clinical research in the United States.
That’s the goal of PharmaTimes, a British trade publication sponsoring the U.S. Clinical Researcher of the Year competition. The contest, now in its second year, follows a comparable 12-year-old competition in the U.K.
For the American version, senior clinical leaders from such major pharmaceutical companies as Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and Shire Pharmaceuticals, along with leading clinical research organizations and site management firms, developed the questions and will serve as judges.
“We want to recognize the work clinical researchers do every day that improves the lives of patients,” said Joanne Godman, a member of the PharmaTimes U.S. Clinical Researcher Steering Committee and director of training and communications at Shire Pharmaceuticals in Wayne, Pa. “The competition will also enable winners and finalists to see how they compare with others in the field, and it gives them bragging rights.”
Applicants have until Feb. 18 to complete the first and second portions of the competition. More than 100 have already entered.
Unlike many competency evaluations, which are often solitary testing endeavors, the PharmaTimes competition expects participants to seek research help from their colleagues. To qualify, competitors must first answer 20 multiple choice questions online based on the ICH/GCP/FDA [International Conference on Harmonization/Good Clinical Practices/Food and Drug Administration] regulatory guidelines.
“This is an open-book exercise and is not timed,” according to PharmaTimes. “We expect you to pass with flying colors!”
Once participants are notified they have passed, they will go on to “Stage Two—The Clinical Challenge,” in which they are given a short case study scenario and are asked to write a 1,000-word response. Like the questionnaire, participants can freely collaborate with colleagues.
“The clinical challenge is an area that is common to all the participants, but given their various jobs in the clinical trial process, we are looking at how they think, how they would handle a situation and do they have a patient-centric point of view,” said Godman.
All responses, said PharmaTimes, initially will be blinded before being submitted to the judges, to obscure the participants’ names and employers. Authors of the best responses will be invited to participate in the final round and awards ceremony on April 7 at Shire’s conference center outside of Philadelphia.
Unlike the earlier stages, the finalists—approximately eight to 10 in each of the four job categories—will be on their own. Each will be given a new challenge and limited time to prepare for a presentation and interview with a judging panel from the Executive Steering Committee. No finalist will be judged by someone within his own organization. As PharmaTimes noted, “There is enough stress without having to perform for one of the bosses!”
At a black tie gala that evening, winners each will receive a $1,000 prize.
Each of the four categories will have between four and five judges. Among the judges are Mark Lacy, CEO of Benchmark Research; Rebecca Boone, director of global clinical operations for GlaxoSmithKline; and Godman of Shire.
Last year’s initial competition’s winners were Jennifer Worrell of Kforce/Pfizer for New CRA/Site Manager of the Year; Jennifer Luevana of GlaxoSmithKline for Experienced CRA/Site Manager of the Year; Vicky Leamy of i3 Research for Trial Manager/Study Leader/Project Manager of the Year and Olivia Payton of Benchmark Research for Study Nurse/Clinical Research Coordinator of the Year.
Visit www.usclinicalresearcher.com to enter or find out more about the competition.