The International Academy of Clinical Research (IAoCR) hosted its first ever Clinical Research Industry Leader Think Tank last month at the Carlton Club in Westminster. The main aim of the meeting was to share ideas and pioneer initiatives to shape best practice in clinical research training.
Industry leaders from many of the world’s leading CROs and pharmaceutical companies came together to share ideas and discuss ways of working together to introduce an industry-wide competence-based accreditation programme in order to create a more portable and flexible workforce. Speakers included Professor Andrew George, Chair of the UK’s National Research Ethics Advisors’ Panel and Sally Osmond, Executive Vice President and General Manager of INC Research, a leading CRO.
One discussion that proved particularly interesting was looking at the changing approach of the regulators who are taking a more risk-based approach to inspections and are increasingly requesting evidence of competence after training courses.
What will it take for the industry to accept proof of competence over experience?
This was a question that stimulated a great deal of debate led to an agreement that there needs to be a universal framework against which the performance of clinical research professionals can be verified to ensure they have the right skills, knowledge and behaviours irrespective of their experience.
Jacqueline Johnson North, CEO at IAoCR, explains: “As an industry, we constantly hear about the importance of experience, with many companies stipulating that any CRAs working on their trials must have at least two years’ experience. This prerequisite has effectively caused stagnation in the industry, with many talented graduates finding themselves unable to get a job in clinical research. The industry is slowly realising that it is losing its young, talented stars because it places greater emphasis on experience than competence. From our discussions at the Think Tank, we saw that many organisations are beginning to recognise the benefits that a competence-based accreditation could bring.”
The IAoCR will host the next Clinical Research Industry Leaders’ Think Tank at the British Consulate General in New York this autumn.
In addition, the IAoCR outlined plans to embed clinical research into university programmes with leading universities both in the UK and overseas. Participants in the Think Tank discussed sponsoring a structured internship programme for students, promoting clinical research as a career. IAoCR will also be approaching Parliamentarians to attend future Clinical Research Industry Leaders Think Tank meetings.
For more information, please visit www.iaocr.com.