I currently work as one of three Trial Managers on the Add-Aspirin trial. Add-Aspirin is a large cancer trial about half way through its recruitment period, with patients being recruited in the UK, Republic of Ireland and India.
A typical day might include speaking to hospital staff over the phone or email and answering any queries they might have
Due to the scale of the study, we have a large team, with each of the Trial Managers taking responsibility for certain aspects of the trial. A large part of my work is the everyday management of the study, one of my more specific responsibilities is the running and oversight of the trial in India. A typical day might include speaking to hospital staff over the phone or email and answering any queries they might have about prospective patients’ eligibility to enter Add-Aspirin.
My day might also comprise of a teleconference with our collaborators in India where we’d discuss recruitment progress, any clinical issues, new sites coming on board and data management aspects of the trial.
I’m also often involved in writing or reviewing trial procedures and documentation. For example the trial’s Translational Research Manual (which documents patient sample collection and laboratory procedures). Another aspect of my role entail is organising Trial Management Group meetings with the trial’s investigators and PPI representatives and writing meeting agendas and minutes.
To be an efficient Trial Manager you need to be very organised and good with your time management skills – due to the nature of the role there are often concurrent tasks which need to be juggled and prioritised. Another key skill is effective communication, since a large part of the role involves communicating with various different people at site level and within the trial team.
To be an efficient Trial Manager you need to be very organised and good with your time management skills.
Having a science degree has definitely been helpful to me although I don’t think it’s absolutely vital to the role – there are so many great training opportunities at the MRC CTU and at wider-UCL to help you fill in any gaps in your knowledge!
I have worked at the MRC CTU at UCL for just over 4 years now. I started as a Trials Assistant working across 3 cancer trials and after a year was successfully promoted to a Data Manager, which is when I joined the Add-Aspirin team. I then worked as a Data Manager for 2 more years before becoming a Trial Manager. Over that time as a Data Manager I was able to develop my skills and really increase my knowledge of the trial itself as well as in cancer and clinical trials in general, which I think helped me to progress to Trial Manager within the Add-Aspirin team. Overall I think there is great potential for career development at the MRC CTU at UCL, particularly if you are new to clinical trials.