The UK’s pharmaceutical sector is growing. Encompassing nearly 5,000 companies and with a value that’s estimated to increase from $28.8bn to $43bn by 2020, working in science has never been more exciting- or more interesting.
With ever-more advanced technologies making their way onto the marketplace, bringing with them the chance to delve even further into everything from medicines to the way that the human body is structured, working in pharmaceuticals brings with it the chance to get involved in one of the country’s most dynamic industries.
That includes clinical research. Clinical research, and clinical trials, are an important step in developing new medicines that can safely be used and distributed through GPs, clinics and hospitals to the one million patients that pass through the NHS every 36 hours. Not only is it an interesting and varied job, but it’s also one that is essential to healthcare systems across the world, and one that we at ICON go the extra mile to support.
From encouraging new talent to developing employees in their existing roles, our commitment to nurturing passionate researchers is a continuous source of importance to us. For those interested in the field or already working in clinical research, here are five reasons why it makes for a brilliant career. You can help make a difference in people’s lives
Clinical research can make all the difference when it comes to saving peoples’ lives, or improving their quality of life. Not only do clinical trials trial new drugs and medicines for general use by the population, they also tackle diseases that were previously thought incurable, such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and nervous system disorders like Alzheimer’s. Even if the work you do might not result in an immediate breakthrough, it will be put in a database where other scientists can study your research and work towards making their own.
The result? You’ll be making a difference in people’s lives, whether through curing patients in new ways, or working to combat increasingly-prevalent issues like antibiotic resistance, especially given that no new antibiotics have been discovered in the last thirty years.
Clinical research is an excellent career to get involved in if you want to develop your role and push yourself- and at ICON, that’s something we take extremely seriously. Given that the industry expectation is that you need two years of experience within the industry to work as a Clinical Research Associate and monitor tests, there is a shortage of CRAs, but no shortage of talent waiting to be trained.
That’s why we’ve taken a proactive approach to developing a strong pipeline of CRA talent, investing in the learning and development of our talented internal staff, and opening the doors to new graduates or study co-ordinators who want to get involved in the industry.
With a variety of development programmes, from the six-month CRA Graduate Programme for new graduates, to the CRA Academy Programme for individuals with previous levels of industry experience, ICON is working hard to ensure that the development of our staff, and the corresponding excellence of our staff, remains one of our top priorities.
Not only is clinical research a fulfilling career, but it’s also a challenging one. Clinical research is responsible for ascertaining how safe and effective drugs, devices and diagnostic products are, and as such it’s a demanding role with plenty of responsibility riding on it.
It’s also one where you can get stuck in from the beginning in a Clinical Research Associate position, which will give you a strong grounding in business, whilst also maintaining your links to science, and allowing you to push boundaries and develop or test new products.
As a result, clinical research is perfect for bright and talented science graduates to start their career in- especially if you have a degree in science, bio-medicine, nursing or pharmacy.
Apart from ICON’s range of development programmes available, there’s also a lot of innovation currently taking place within clinical research. Last year, more than 665,000 participants took part in clinical research studies supported by the NIHR Network- a 10% increase on the year before.
In addition, the NIHR has continued to support high-quality NHS research with 2,055 new studies taking place, which was a 15% increase. With ever more investment going into the clinical research sector, now’s a great time to be getting involved in the opportunities and expanding variety of trials opening up within the industry.
There’s never a dull day when you’re working in clinical research. The sector is ideal if you like variety and you like to be challenged, because apart from setting up, monitoring and closing clinical studies, you’ll also be travelling to different research areas, writing reports, going into the office for meetings and getting to know hundreds of different people- whether as part of the trials or within different companies.
Though it can be hard, as you’ll be working with and managing investigators as well as managing the priorities on studies, the job can also open doors into a whole variety of industries and careers, from Project Management to Clinical Operations.