Quintiles, the world’s largest contract research organization, produced this series of “South Park”-style videos promoting careers with the firm. CROs can be a great place to start a clinical research career because they provide exposure to a variety of clinical trial protocols and therapeutic areas. The Quintiles website includes a journal that gives an idea of how a clinical research associate spends her time on site visit and office days.
Here’s an amusing look at a day in the life of a CRA (Clinical Research Associate) on a site visit. This video is a parody, but it does give you a sense of what site visits are all about.
A CRA may spend 60-80% of their time on the road conducting these visits. Their job is to monitor the conduct of clinical trials, ensuring that research sites are enrolling patients and carrying out the trial correctly, following both the trial protocol and ICH-GCP conduct guidelines. They review a lot of documentation, check site supplies and generally watch out for problems.
When there are problems, a CRA needs to help get the clinical site staff back on the right track, and so they need to have excellent communication and negotiation skills. It can take a lot of diplomacy to get clinical investigators and their staff to change the way they do things in a busy clinic!
The sound in the embedded clip isn’t synchronized quite right. You can see a higher-quality version at the ResearchPoint site. They are the CRO (Contract Research Organization) that created the video.
You can read more about what a CRA job is all about in this earlier article.
Here in Toronto, the MaRS Discovery District is a biotechnology research hub that was specifically developed to connect the science, business and finance communities.
If there is a biotechnology hub like this near you, it can be a great resource for your job search. MaRS frequently holds events and seminars that allow students and interested members of the public to learn more about all aspects of the biotechnology sector. One series of lectures, called Entrepreneurship 101, is especially useful for getting a behind-the-scenes look at what’s involved in the operation of a biotech business.
Not in Toronto? Never fear! The Entrepreneurship 101 lectures are available for free online as webcasts.
This particular session, “Managing your Career – how to sell yourself and manage your career goals“, is of particular relevance for this blog. Teresa Snelgrove, an executive recruiter specializing in the pharmaceutical and biotech sector, and Frederic Sweeney, a scientist who left the lab to start a career in finance, both share insights into the job search and career development.
You can view the webcast here, and download a PDF of the presentation here (requires a free slideshare registration).
A webcast of a previous version of the same presentation can be viewed here. You may also want to check out the full archive of Entrepreneurship 101 presentations.
Genentech is one of the world’s most successful biotechnology companies, and has been named to Fortune magazines “100 best companies to work for” for 10 years running. their human resources department has put together a series of videos about working at the firm.
This video, targeted primarily at students and other entry-level candidates, offers career advice for biotech job-seekers from a handful of Genentech employees.
Of course, right now, Genentech is flirting with acquisition offers from Roche, which may have human resources implications for both companies. But the advice in this video is sound regardless of what companies you target.