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Four Oxford University Trial Managers from four different trial units and departments recently organised a careers and networking event.

Held on 23 January in the Richard Doll Lecture Theatre at Old Road Campus, the event - ‘Your Career in Clinical Trials’ - was attended by over 100 people from a range of Trial Management and Administration backgrounds.

The event featured a series of talks from experts in the field of industry and academia. The speakers were: Maria Breen (Freelance Clinical Research Consultant), Jo Cook (Research Nurse turned Trial Manager, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences), Justine Reise (Director of Operations, Imperial Clinical Trials Unit), Jacqui Spencer (Founder of 'Anything is Possible' which offers Career and Life Coaching) and Surjeet Singh (Clinical Research Site Manager, Synexus Thames Valley Research Site).

During the session, participants gained an insight into the different careers in the management and administration of trials, formed an understanding of how they can develop their career in trial management, learned about new training opportunities and had the opportunity to network with people ‘in the know’.

A career in clinical trials can be a fascinating and rewarding one. Oxford is unique in the number of UKCRC Registered Trial Units in one city and a vast array of cutting-edge research in many disease areas is carried out. This spread of Trial Management staff across different units and departments can however give rise to isolation of Trial staff. Networking can be challenging, as well as understanding the different careers available in Trial Management, career development pathways and training opportunities.

The organisers, Steffi le Conte, Elena Villarreal, Elizabeth Nuthall and Ryonfa Lee, commented: ‘A career in trial management is often misunderstood as a glorified admin role. We hope that by putting on events of this kind myths such as this will be broken. Behind every successful trial will be a dedicated, hard-working trial team whose progression and development must be supported and nurtured, as well as their role within the Trial duly acknowledged.’

The event was kindly supported by the Oxford BRC and Thames Valley CRN, and there were display stands from the ICR, Thames Valley CRN and OCTO. The session concluded with a drinks and canape networking reception.

Your Career in Clinical Trials© NDS

A few of the many positive comments received both during and after the event:

"It genuinely was amazing. I don’t think you could have chosen a better group of speakers."

"It was a brilliant day – really inspiring (and reassuring) to hear all the different personal stories and ‘pathways’, and it definitely gave me ideas and inspiration for potential future career moves!"

"Congratulations on yesterday’s event. I know how much work goes into making something like that happen, especially making it happen so smoothly. It was a great afternoon and hope you all managed to get a big glass of bubbles at the end!"